THE INSPIRATION, AUTHORITY, AND SUFFICIENCY OF THE SCRIPTURES
The Lord Jesus believed that the Scriptures were inspired, for He thought of them as words that proceed out of the mouth of God, Matthew 4:4. He believed they had authority, for He taught that those who sat in the teacher’s seat in the synagogue and expounded the Old Testament were to be obeyed, even though their personal conduct was not right, Matthew 23:2,3. And since He used the scriptures as His weapon when tempted by the Devil, He must have believed in their sufficiency.
This is decisive for the believer, so that we believe the Scriptures because He who cannot be deceived, and who knows all things, and who withholds nothing that will profit us, believed them and acted upon them.
We now look at various Scriptures that bear upon this subject, beginning with the words of the Lord Jesus Himself, as He prepared His apostles for their mission in the world during His absence.
14:15 If ye love Me, keep my commandments.
If ye love Me- The Lord assumes that they would be different to Judas, who had left the Upper Room to betray the Lord Jesus with a kiss. The token and expression of love is used by Judas as a sign. Did he really think that the Lord, who knows men’s hearts, would be deceived? The apostles, on the other hand, would be loyal and true to Him because they loved Him. Because they were born of God, and God is love, 1 John 4:8, then love to Christ is the expression of the life they had received.
Keep my commandments- their love is to be put to the test, for they are the nucleus of the church, and have special responsibility in it, as apostles. They are to set the tone for the church age, and be examples to the rest of the believers. One of His commandments would be very specific to them, and involved them remaining in Jerusalem until the Spirit came. Indeed, these words almost seem to make the coming of the Spirit dependent on their obedience. If the Spirit comes to Jerusalem and they are in Galilee, what then? The Feast of Pentecost must be celebrated in Jerusalem, and they show their love to the Lord by being there. So it was the Luke records that “they were all of one accord in one place”, Acts 2:1, and the conditions were met, and the Spirit came.
Whilst this exhortation is special to the apostles, we should not lose sight of its general application, and remember that obedience to His commands is expected of those who claim to love Him.
14:16 And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever;
And I will pray the Father- the promise to those who love and obey Him will result in the provision of the Holy Spirit. He, one of the persons of the Godhead, will come in full harmony with the mind of God. The Son will pray, (and the word for pray is the prayer of an equal, not an inferior), and the Father will send, and the Spirit will come. Thus the whole Godhead will be active in this matter, such is the importance of the event. Of course, no one person of the Godhead is active without the consent or agreement of the others, but this is specially marked here. The age when the Son was on earth is going to be followed by the age when another Divine person is active in the earth.
And He shall give you another Comforter- the word another is that one which means “another of the same sort”, not “another of a different sort”. This affirms the equality of the Spirit with the Father and the Son in the Godhead. It also indicates that the Son was the comforter of His own, and this will be continued by the Spirit. He will point us to those features that were found in Christ, the account of which by His agency will have been recorded in the Four Gospels, so that we may have Christ ministered to our hearts even though He is not present on the earth.
That He may abide with you for ever- the express purpose of the Spirit’s coming is here said to be so that He may abide, and not go away, as Christ was about to do. This is testimony to the eternal security of the true believer, for the Spirit indwells the believer in this age, so that wherever the believer is, the Spirit is. He cannot be lost, therefore.
14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
Even the Spirit of truth- there are four things we are told about the Spirit in this verse. First, the character of the Spirit, then the character of the world, then the current position of the Spirit, and then finally the then-future position of the Spirit.
He is called the Spirit of truth because He makes known the truth, and so closely associates with it that the truth becomes part of His title. We have already seen that He comforts by the application of the truth about Christ to our hearts.
He is also called “He”, reminding us that the Spirit is not just an influence, but a Divine Person, equal to the Father and the Son. During His ministry the Lord Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit comforting, dwelling, teaching, bringing to remembrance, guiding, speaking, showing, glorifying, and receiving. None of these things can be done by a mere influence. Those who wish to deny the Deity of the Holy Spirit have an agenda- they wish to deny the Deity of Christ. They know they cannot do that and also believe in the Deity of the Holy Spirit, because the Godhead is plural, and not dual, as the first verse of the Bible indicates.
14:25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.
These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you- this is another gentle indication that He is leaving them. He had told them about Judas so that they would not be overwhelmed, and also so that they would maintain confidence in Him when He was arrested and crucified, seeing He, knowing beforehand what was to happen, had forewarned them, 13:18-20. This short-term prophecy would also give them confidence in His more long-term prophecies. This is important, because a man whose prophecies did not come to pass was to be stoned as an imposter, Deuteronomy 18:20-22.
He had also warned them in the words, “Little children, yet a little while I am with you”, 13:33. Something of His pity for them is expressed in the words “little children”. Jehovah pitied His people in Psalm 103:13 “as a father pitieth his children”, and now God manifest in flesh is expressing this. Peter is obviously taken aback by this statement, so much so that he ignores the following words about love, and concentrates on the idea of the Lord going away. This going away, however, is so that He may prepare a place for them and return to escort them to heaven. So these indications of His departure are followed by words of encouragement. The same is true in our verse, for the mention of not being with them is followed by the assurance that the Spirit would come as a comforter.
14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost- the word “but” emphasizes the changed conditions that are about to prevail, yet also serves to introduce the compensating benefit. The Lord is careful to define who the comforter is, lest they think He is a man. After all, the Lord has already described Him as “another”, meaning “another of the same sort”, so they could be forgiven for this mistake, seeing Christ was a man. So “Comforter…Holy Spirit” rids of that notion, as it does in verses 16,17, and 16:7,13. But even though He is spirit and not flesh and blood, the fact that He is of the same sort as Christ assures us of His Deity.
This careful defining of the Comforter is necessary for its own sake, but also because the Lord well knew that Mahomet would come on the scene in the 7th Century and claim to be the promised comforter. His claim is forestalled by these words, for how can a man be described as a holy spirit?
The title of Consolation of Israel had been given to the Lord Jesus by Simeon, in Luke 2:25, and it is interesting to notice that when the child Jesus was presented to the Lord in the temple age the age of forty days, Mary offered to God either two turtle doves or two pigeons, (we are not told which). But the Holy Spirit is seen to come down on Christ at His baptism as a dove, and Luke tells us He came in bodily form, Luke 3:2. Thus these things give incidental testimony to the unity of Divine persons, for the dove represents the Spirit, but He came in bodily form because the Son was now in the body.
Whom the Father will send in My name- this indicates that the Father sends the Spirit in response to all He sees in His Son. Whatever He discerns in His Son’s character gives meaning to His sending of the Spirit. We may be assured, then, that there will be no discrepancy between the Son’s attitude to things, and the Spirit’s. And because the Son’s attitude to things was that of His Father, then the Godhead is, as always, acting manifestly in harmony. The coming of the Spirit is here the act of the Father, whereas in Acts 2:33 it was the Lord Jesus who shed forth the Spirit, as John the Baptist had predicted in the words, “The same is He which baptizeth with the Holy Spirit”, John 1:33. Again, the Persons of the Godhead are seen to be in harmony.
He shall teach you all things- the word “He” is emphatic here, which does not make it mean, “He, the Spirit, shall teach you as I did not”, but rather, “He, this same one, difficult as it is for you to take in, shall teach you”. They had been used to listening to men teaching, whether the Rabbis, or John the Baptist, or Christ, but now it was a Spirit teaching, and they were possibly perplexed. The solution to their puzzlement is two-fold. First there is the idea of truth being brought to remembrance so that it could be written down. The Spirit and the Word would be vitally linked. Second, it is seen in the fact that the apostles, men in flesh and blood, would be the Spirit’s teaching agencies. So much so that it becomes their word, John 17:20; Acts 2:16.
Note it is the Spirit who will teach, not the church, as the Roman Catholic system claims. As soon as men start to claim to originate ideas, there is confusion, as the history of the last two thousand years shows.
By “all things” is meant, “all things that remain to be taught”. It is not that the Spirit will start afresh, or else they would not need past things brought to their memory. There were further truths to be brought to light after the Spirit had come at Pentecost, as 16:12,13 explains.
And bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you- nothing of what Christ had said was going to be lost, but the Spirit of God would gather it up and enable the apostles to remember what He had said. When they came to write it down, and when they preached it, they were able to give a true account of the Lord’s teaching. We may be confident that what we read in the Scriptures is a true account. Luke tells us that many had set themselves the task of writing down the details of the Lord’s life. He does not condemn them for doing this, but the fact that Luke’s gospel gained the approval of the apostles, (as is seen in the fact that the apostle quoted from it in Acts 20:35), shows Luke’s gospel is authoritative. And it is this because the Spirit of truth inspired it, which could not be said of other attempts at writing a gospel.
Because the apostles were thus guided of the Spirit, that which they preached before the New Testament was written can be relied upon. They were not using their imagination. So it is that Peter can assure us “we have not followed cunningly devised fables”, 2 Peter 1:16.
16:12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
I have yet many things to say unto you- the teaching of the Lord Jesus when here on earth did not exhaust the store of wisdom that was available. Luke hints at this when he writes at the beginning of the Acts, “all that Jesus began to do and teach”, Acts 1:1, which implies that the Book of Acts would record the way in which He continued to do and teach through the preaching of the apostles. He “came and preached peace to them who were afar off, and them that were near”, Ephesians 2:17. The apostles “preached everywhere, the Lord working with them”, Mark 16:20.
But ye cannot bear them now- so it was not that the Lord did not finish His teaching ministry in time. That could never be, for God is never late, nor does He fail. The word “bear” has to do with carrying a burden, and the weight of truth that was to be unfolded to these men was more than they could carry in their current state. The Levites in the time of the Tabernacle had a heavy task, for they were responsible for moving the tabernacle. In the case of the Gershonites and Merarites, this involved the lifting of heavy materials onto wagons for transportation; in the case of the Kohathites they were required to bear the heavy tabernacle furniture on their shoulders. They would certainly feel the weight of their burdens. The apostles would also have a burden, that of the weighty truths concerning Christ and the church they would be entrusted with making known.
The reason they were not able to bear such a burden at that point is five-fold:
First, they were in a distressed state because of His statement that He was leaving them.
Second, they were about to forsake Him and flee, so the boldness needed to set out new truth was not in their hearts as yet.
Third, they did not have the Spirit indwelling them, so the power to preach New Testament truth was lacking. Their preaching for the previous three years or so had been evangelistic, and consisted of the repetition of what they had heard from Him.
Fourth, they were still not clear about God’s programme in relation to Israel, as is seen by their question in Acts 1:6.
Fifth, there were mysteries yet to be revealed, but that would be done through the apostle Paul, who at this point was not a believer.
16:13 Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come.
Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come- the word “howbeit” signals a change. Something is going to happen to enable them to bear the weight of the truth that is about to be revealed. That five-fold reason for their lack of readiness to bear the truth would be remedied. Since the burden they will bear is truth, it is appropriate that the Spirit, when He came upon them at Pentecost, should come in character as Spirit of truth. He is the Spirit who is intimately associated with the truth, and necessarily so, because God is the God of truth, and the Spirit is God. It is not that He would then become the Spirit of truth, for He had associated Himself with the truth Christ had made known during His earthly ministry.
The word from heaven when Christ was on the Mount of Transfiguration was “Hear ye Him”. If God had some misgiving about the ministry of Christ, that exhortation would not have come from heaven. In fact, just previously the Lord Jesus had deliberately set His saying alongside the word of the Father. Peter had learnt something from the Father, and then the Lord adds, “And I also say unto thee”. If that had been presumption, the word “Hear ye Him” would not have been uttered.
The word “come” is in that tense which signifies a decisive event, not a prolonged process. One moment they would not have the Spirit, the next moment they would. And immediately they would be able to preach, as we see from a reading of the account of the events on the Day of Pentecost, in Acts 2. Note that the Lord is confident that the Holy Spirit will come, which shows He is sure that the Father will respond to His request to send Him, 14:16; Acts 2:
He will guide you into all truth- like an expert tour guide, who is able to show tourists who have never visited a place before, the interesting features of a particular region, so the Holy Spirit, fully acquainted with the truth, is able to guide the apostles into that truth. Since the Spirit came because Jesus was glorified, John 7:39, then a vast area of truth opens up before the minds of the apostles, and we find this truth in their writings in the New Testament. Needless to say, this truth is spiritual; it is not truth about the physical world, as if the apostles became brilliant scientists in a moment. The fact that the Lord promises this, (and all His promises are honoured), shows that it will come to pass. So when the apostle Paul spoke of his ministry as fulfilling the word of God, Colossians 1:25; or when he wrote about a time when it could be said, “that which is perfect is come”, 1 Corinthians 13:10; or when Jude writes about “the faith once delivered unto the saints”, by which he means “once for all” delivered, Jude 3; and when the Lord warns in the last chapter of the New Testament against adding to the words of the book, Revelation 22:18,19, we know that God’s revelation of truth is complete.
If we do not know what it is that should not be taken from or added to, how can we avoid the judgement which comes to those who do take away or add?
For He shall not speak of Himself- this does not mean that the New Testament epistles will contain no information about the Holy Spirit, for that is clearly not true. What it does mean is that the Spirit will not speak independently of the Father and the Son. The fact that He guides into all Divine truth shows that He is familiar with it all, hence the word “for” at the beginning of this phrase. We are being led on gradually here as we listen to the Lord teaching His own. We learn the Spirit will guide into all truth “for” He does not speak of Himself, “for” whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak. The Lord goes on to explain this in the next statements.
But whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak- the Lord Jesus said of Himself, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His that sent Me”, John 7:16; “I speak to the world those things I have heard of Him”, John 8:26, (the “Him” referring to the Father); “and the word which ye hear is not Mine, but the Father’s which sent me, John 14:24; “all things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you”, john 15:15. These quotations show His complete insight into the mind and will of His Father. He was privy to the counsels of the Godhead. His coming into manhood had not altered that intimacy. The prophet spoke beforehand of this in the words, “He wakeneth morning by morning, He wakeneth Mine ear to hear as the learned”, Isaiah 51:4. He did not hear as the ignorant, but as the learned or instructed one. Learned persons converse with those of equal standing with themselves in matters familiar to them. They go over well-trodden territory as they discuss their particular field of knowledge and expertise. They do not hear one another to learn, but to rehearse what they know. So it is with the Lord Jesus. He awoke each morning to learn what part of the Divine Counsels was relevant to Him for that day. He did not awake to learn what the counsels were, but what bearing they had on the day that was before Him.
We are used to the idea that in the Book of Genesis God is heard communing with Himself. For example, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness”, Genesis 1:26; “And the Lord God said, the man is become as one of Us”, 3:22; “Go to, let Us go down, and there confound their language”, 11:7. But in the passages from the New Testament quoted above we learn that the Persons of the Godhead still commune with One Another. So to be able to hear the Father is to claim Deity.
What is true of the Son is now said to be true of the Holy Spirit, for if the Son hears the Father, then so does the Spirit; He too is privy to Divine counsels and coversation. What He hears He transmits to the apostles, so they have the truth as the Godhead knows it. This gives their writings a very special character, and as such should be received and believed. Note that is “whatsoever” He hears, so the Spirit is not selective in His transmission of Divine truth.
And He will show you things to come- that is, “the things coming He will announce to you”. It is not a question of showing as by visions, but making truth known so that it can be taken in by the apostles and transmitted into inspired preaching and writing. This is not a specific reference to the Book of the Revelation and other prophetic parts of the New Testament, for all the truth that was to be disclosed by the Spirit after Christ had gone back to heaven could be described as things that are coming.
The word “show” is literally “to bring back tidings”, so the idea is of the Spirit having direct access to heavenly counsels, but also bringing back tidings from those counsels to apostles on the earth. Caleb and Joshua brought back tidings about Canaan, (the place that contained “things to come” for Israel), after they had explored that land; in the same way the Holy Spirit is able to tell of heavenly things from first-hand knowledge of the mind of God.
16:14 He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you.
He shall glorify Me- this expression does not begin with the word “and”, so is not a further work that the Spirit will do. Rather, it is the result of the work that has just been detailed. By the speaking and announcing of Divine truth, the Spirit will glorify Christ. This means that various aspects of the glory of Christ will be presented to our minds, and as a result we shall have an enhanced appreciation of His excellencies, and He will be magnified in our hearts. A magnifying glass does not make an object physically bigger, but it makes it bigger in our eyes, and enables us to appreciate its features in more detail. So Christ cannot be more glorious that He is, but He can be magnified in our eyes as the Spirit points out His virtues.
When Moses asked to see God’s glory, God granted him his request, and displayed that glory not only by allowing a glimpse of His glory to be seen, but also by speaking, Exodus x33:18-23; 34:6-8. So now, the glory of God is seen in the face of Jesus Christ, and those glories are told out in the words of Scripture, coming as they do from the Holy Spirit whose ministry it is to glorify Christ.
Since the Holy Spirit indwells the gathered companies of God’s people as they meet in assembly fellowship, then the end result of each meeting should be that Christ is magnified. Paul calls this coming together for the better, in 1 Corinthians 11:17.
For He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you- this is the process by which Christ is glorified. The Spirit not only hears truth, but receives it from the Godhead to infallibly impart it to the apostles, and through their writings to us. In particular what He receives is that which Christ describes as “Mine”. Since when this is transmitted to believers it glorifies Christ, then we may say that the truth that the Spirit is said to receive here is especially about Christ. No doubt the major part of this has to do with the mysteries that are unfolded in the New Testament epistles, which bring out truth that was even hidden from the Old Testament prophets. Such themes as the principles at work in His death; the consequences of His resurrection; the implications of His ascension; His headship of the church; His priesthood; the fact that He will head up all things, whether in heaven or earth; that He is the Last Adam; that believers shall be conformed to His image even as to the body; that He will have the church as His bride, and other things besides. Perhaps all these things are summed up in the phrase “the mystery of Christ”, Colossians 4:3.
16:15 All things that the Father hath are Mine: therefore said I, that He shall take of Mine, and shall show it unto you.
All things that the Father hath are mine- there is a common possession of truth in the Godhead. One does not withhold from another, for they are one. Indeed, persons of the Godhead cannot, by their very nature, do anything independently of one another, or else they would not be One God. This is why the Lord Jesus said “The Son can do nothing of Himself”, John 5:19. He was not indicating that in some way He was powerless to act. (After all, it is as Son that He describes Himself thus, so the fact that He shares the nature and essence of God is in view). Rather, He was claiming Deity, in that Divine persons cannot do anything independently of one another. A man may do things independently of another man, and also independently of God, because men are individual units. But the persons of the Godhead are essentially one, and cannot act contrary to one another.
Therefore said I, that He shall take of Mine, and shall show it unto you- the word “therefore” has the sense of “because of this”. The Lord Jesus claims here to have just reason to use the words “take of Mine”. Because the word “take” implies the Father, and since all the things the Father has the Son has as well, then the Lord is perfectly justified in saying “shall take of Mine”, and not “shall take of the Father’s”. The three Persons of the Godhead are interacting in this matter as the Spirit takes from the Father the things of the Son.
2 Timothy 3:1-9
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as their’s also was.
The exposure of corrupt men
Verses 1-9 speak of those who have a form of godliness, but who deny the power thereof. The apostle cites the two magicians who withstood Moses in Pharoah’s palace, Exodus 7:10-12, as examples of those whose religious beliefs and teachings were opposed to the truth of God. Such men resist the truth, having corrupt minds, and who are reprobate concerning the faith, which is a term meaning the sum total of Christian doctrine. When tested by the standard of the faith, they are disqualified, despite their form of godliness. They deny the power that enables a godly life to be lived, namely the power of the Holy Spirit.
2 Timothy 3:10-13
But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
The example of a godly man
Verses 10-13 present the contrast to such men, represented by the apostle, whose doctrine, manner of life, and willingness to suffer for what he believed, were the result of a settled faith in the Scriptures. Men are not prepared to suffer and die for what they know to be false.
2 Timothy 3:14-17
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, throughly furnished unto all good works.
The exhortation to a young man
In verses 14-17 the apostle exhorts Timothy to be the same, by continuing in what he had learned from the scriptures, encouraged by the example of those from whom he learned it. As a young man he had not outgrown the scriptures, nor could he, or anyone else, do so.
3:15 From a child thou hast known the holy scriptures- Timothy was Jewish on his mother’s side, and his mother and grandmother had believed the gospel. They had been faithful in exposing him to the reading of the Scriptures in the synagogue, where there would be copies of what was carefully preserved in the Temple. This is why the apostle is able to call the writings Timothy heard, “The Holy Scriptures”, for they were holy and different, not only by association with the Temple, but also because they were separate from other writings, even those of godly men. See Luke 4:16,17, and compare Deuteronomy 31:26; 2 Kings 22:8.
Ultimately, however, their holiness lay in the fact that they came from God, and this was why they were separate from the writings of men.
Which are able to make thee wise unto salvation- even as a believer Timothy needed the wisdom of the scriptures to save him from life’s spiritual perils. James exhorts us to “Receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls”, James 1:21. There are those who make shipwreck of the faith because they do not hold faith and a good conscience, 1 Timothy 1:19.
Through faith which is in Christ Jesus- even when we reverence the scriptures as being holy, we must only seek to practice them in dependence upon the Lord; they are not designed to make us self-sufficient. The Son of God was marked by dependence upon His Father, for He said, “As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me”, John 6:57. To live by Him is to take in the truths about Himself that are able to nourish our souls.
All scripture- the use of the singular here indicates Scripture in its entirety, with emphasis on the words used, whereas in verse 15 the idea was that of the collected writings of the Old Testament canon, with the emphasis on the writing done. Scripture contains the words of evil men and of the Devil himself; they are not inspired when they speak, but those who wrote what they said were inspired as they did so, so we sometimes have the inspired record of what uninspired men said.
Is given by inspiration of God- this is one word in the original, meaning God-breathed. God breathed out His word by the Spirit, (who is the breath of His mouth, 2 Thessalonians 2:8; Isaiah 4:11), and breathed it into His servants. They in their turn wrote it down, as we see from Jeremiah 36:1,2, 4-6, 8,17,18, 21-23, 27,28, 32.
“And it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that this word came unto Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, ‘Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day…”
“Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah: and Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the Lord, which He had spoken unto him, upon a roll of a book.”
“And Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, I am shut up; I cannot go into the house of the Lord: Therefore go thou, and read in the roll, which thou hast written from my mouth, the words of the Lord in the ears of the people in the Lord’s house upon the fasting day: and also thou shalt read them in the ears of all Judah that come out of their cities.”
“And Baruch the son of Neriah did according to all that Jeremiah the prophet commanded him, reading in the book the words of the Lord in the Lord’s house.”
“And they asked Baruch, saying, Tell us now, How didst thou write all these words at his mouth?
Then Baruch answered them, He pronounced all these words unto me with his mouth, and I wrote them with ink in the book.
So the king sent Jehudi to fetch the roll: and he took it out of Elishama the scribe’s chamber. And Jehudi read it in the ears of the king, and in the ears of all the princes which stood beside the king.
Now the king sat in the winterhouse in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him.
And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth”.
“Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, after that the king had burned the roll, and the words which Baruch wrote at the mouth of Jeremiah, saying,
Take thee again another roll, and write in it all the former words that were in the first roll, which Jehoiakim the king of Judah hath burned”.
“Then took Jeremiah another roll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah; who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire: and there were added besides unto them many like words”.
Note this is not dictation, for the truths God revealed passed through the thought processes of the prophets, so their personality, upbringing, style, were all allowed to express themselves, but all controlled by the Spirit. This is clear from the different characteristics of the books of the Bible. The Lord Jesus depended on “every word” that came from God, so did not believe some was error or the product of the prophet’s own thinking. We should not speak of one book of the Bible being more inspired than another. The word inspired is used in a diluted sense nowadays, such as “an inspiring poem”; “he inspired me with his enthusiasm”, but this is not its meaning in Scripture.
And are profitable- that is, they are useful. The Scriptures are for daily use, not occasional academic interest.
For teaching- the act of teaching the faith is to be based on the Scriptures. Note this destroys the idea of the church having the final authority.
Reproof- when the teaching or doctrine is given, then shortcomings are revealed, and we are convicted of wrong behaviour. One of the proofs of the integrity of the Scriptures is the spiritual results it produces, see verses 10,11.
For correction- which is restoration to a right state. Having been exposed to the doctrine, and convicted as to deviations from it, there comes from the same scriptures the correcting doctrine, positively showing the right way.
For instruction in righteousness- having brought us back to the right path, we are instructed how to walk along it, “the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake”, Psalm 23:3. “This is the way, walk ye in it”, Isaiah 30:21.
That the man of God- one who desires to be mature in the things of God, and therefore Christ-like.
May be perfect- given special aptitude for spiritual uses. The mature believer will have the required aptitude to fulfil the work allotted to him by the Lord. The grace that accompanies gift will enable the believer to accept the teaching of Scripture relevant to the use of the gift.
Throughly furnished unto all good works- fitted for the task. Here the emphasis is on the thoroughness with which the Word of God fits us. We cannot do anything for the Lord without knowing the doctrines of Scripture, for they are the working principles of spiritual action.
THE INSPIRATION OF SCRIPTURE IN 2 Peter 1:12-21
Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.
The apostle is aware that he is about to die, for the Lord has indicated in John 21 that he would die before the Lord came, and when he was old, and both conditions are now fulfilled. He was determined to continue teaching the “present truth”, that is, the truth that was present with them, and also to write, so that his ministry would continue after his death.
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
This ministry was worthwhile because it was the making known of solid truth, not cunningly devised fables. He had actually seen and heard the things of which he wrote. He cites in particular the Mount of Transfiguration experience, for it had to do with the coming kingdom, and in chapters 2 and 3 he will speak of false prophets, who deny future things.
We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
A more sure word of prophecy- as a result of his experience on the mount, the prophetic word of the Old Testament was confirmed to Peter.
A light that shineth in a dark place- compared to the glory that shall fill the earth when Christ reigns, the world is a dark place. For the believer there is the lamp (that is, something personal, rather than a light like the sun), of the prophetic word to explain the principles of Christ’s Kingdom, so that we may be governed by them now.
Until the day dawn- when the sun of righteousness arises, Malachi 4:2, the “morning without clouds” will have come, 2 Samuel 23:4. Peter had seen the Lord’s face shine as the sun, giving a preview of this, Matthew 17:2.
And the day-star arise in your hearts- prior to the sunrise, the day-star rises, to give a signal that the day is about to begin. It does not lighten up the earth, but it does give a sign to those who are awake. Such is the coming of the Lord for His people. When that happens, we shall be changed to His likeness, so the light will rise in our hearts, changing us morally, 1 John 3:2. There is also the fact that when the coming of the Lord becomes precious to us, then our hearts reach forward and, so to speak, bring the day-star into our hearts. (See Hebrews 11, and the way faith reached forward and laid hold of future things, so that they became real in the soul). The Lord promised to the overcomers in Thyatira that this would happen. And in Revelation 22:16 the Lord Jesus describes Himself as “the bright and morning star”. The response of John is “Even so, come, Lord Jesus”, verse 20.
1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
Knowing this first- this is the first principle of Bible interpretation.
No prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation- The word “is” here is part of the verb to become, and is used with the genitive. So the idea is of becoming the property of anyone. We cannot make the prophecy our own property, as if we have exclusive rights to the correct interpretation of it. All believers share the truth. The faith is delivered to the saints, Jude 3. Only false prophets would claim to alone know the truth.
Private interpretation- this is an interpretation which one thinks out for oneself, (as the false prophets did), unaided by the Spirit of God.
1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
For- the reason why verse 20 is true.
The prophecy came not- the idea is that the prophecy was borne, the same word as “came” in verse 17, referring to the voice that came to Christ from the Father. So the same mouth that spoke to the prophets, spoke on the mount of transfiguration.
Not in old time by the will of man- it was not their private invention, any more than we may have a private interpretation.
But holy men of God- those whose will was surrendered to God, and who rejected human wisdom.
Spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit- the word “moved” was used of a ship when it was carried along as the wind fills its sails. So if that is the way the prophecy came, by the Spirit, then that is the way the prophecy must be interpreted, by the Spirit. All this prepares the way for chapters 2 and 3 where false and unholy prophets were attempting to lead the people of God astray.