Category Archives: The transmission of Divine truth

Thoughts on the way the mind of God has been preserved in Scripture.

The transmission of Divine truth

THE TRANSMISSION OF DIVINE TRUTH

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, under the following headings:

Part 1  The promise of the Spirit of Truth.
Part 2  The process of imparting the truth- the Divine side.
Part 3 The process of imparting the truth- the human side.
Part 4 The purpose for imparted the truth.
Part 5 The pointing out of imparted truth.
Part 6 The protection of imparted truth.

Having looked at these things, we shall then consider THE TRANSLATION OF DIVINE TRUTH.  This will be in the form of a timeline of events from the days of the apostles up to the modern times.

Part 1        The promise of the Spirit of Truth.

We begin with the words of the Lord Jesus Himself, as recorded in John chapters 14 and 16, as He prepared His apostles for the fact that He was leaving them, and would no longer be present bodily to teach them.

John 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 4:16, 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.  The true believer, therefore, cannot be lost. 

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- the Lord now defines who this other Comforter is.  He is not a person in the flesh, but is the Spirit of God. And because the promise is in the context of the greater works of setting forth Divine truth, He is aptly called the Spirit of truth.  He will disclose the truth to all believers as they make Christ known in  the various ways open to them, and will support and strengthen them as they set it forth.
Note that the Lord is careful when He mentions this Comforter to define who He is, for He knew Islam would rise up 700 years later and claim that their prophet was the comforter.  The history of that religion down the centuries shows plainly that as they worked out the teachings of their prophet it certainly did not bring comfort to men.  Violence and murder were in abundance, but comfort was in very short supply.  And the same applies today.
Whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him- notice the clear line of distinction drawn here between believers and the world.  And the difference highlighted here is that the world is unable to do two things. 
First, it cannot see the Holy Spirit.  We might think that this is no different to believers, for they cannot see the Spirit either.  The point is that the world can only appreciate things that are accessible to the natural senses.  The spiritual ability to appreciate the things of the Spirit, and therefore the Spirit Himself, is totally lacking in their case, as 1 Corinthians 2:14 explains, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned”. 
Second, the world cannot know the Spirit, or in other words, cannot have any meaningful relationship with the Spirit, for He will not link Himself with that which is of Adam.  Israel were expressly told not to pour the anointing oil on anyone other than priests, “for on man’s flesh shall it not be poured”, Exodus 30:32, where the word for man is “adam”.
But ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you- the disciples already had experience of the working and presence of the Spirit as Christ did miracles in His power.  As He said, “If I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then is the kingdom of God come unto you”, Matthew 12:28.  So to have Christ by their side was to have the Spirit with them, for He could say, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me”, Luke 4:18.  But there was a new experience in store for them, for they would have the Spirit within them.  But the word “dwelleth” is in the present tense, and indicates that the Spirit would continue to abide or remain with them, even after He had come within them. 
So it was that the Spirit filled every one of the believers on the Day of Pentecost, Acts 2:4, and that happens every time a person believes the gospel, for the apostle Paul states very clearly, “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His”, Romans 8:9.  (Every believer is filled with the Spirit all the time.  When the apostle exhorts us to “be filled with the Spirit” he is not saying we need a further supply of the Spirit because for some reason we have become less than full.  He means that we should “be” what we “are”, that is, filled with the Spirit.  We are to live in the light of the fact that we are filled with the Spirit, and allow Him to control us).
In verse 16, the Lord prophesied that the Spirit would dwell or abide with them.  Here, He speaks of the Spirit abiding or dwelling with, and also actually being within.  In verse 16, “with” is “meta”, with the genitive.  In verse 17, the word “with” is “para”, with the dative.  These distinctions would have been appreciated by the Greek-speakers who first read them.  Both “meta” and “para” mean “with”.  But “meta” is “in connection with”, “in company with”, or “among, in the midst of”.  Christ companied with men, and with His disciples; He was in their midst, and among them, but He was about to leave them, and leave the world, so they would not have His company in that sense any more.
The word “para”, however, involves a closer relationship, meaning “by the side of”.  In fact, the word for Comforter is “para-clete”, one who draws alongside to help.  So we have three ideas.  The Spirit is among the people of God for ever, verse 16; He is alongside them to help, verse 17; He is within to empower, verse 17.
In verses 18-24 the Lord explains some of the benefits of the Spirit coming, in terms of knowing the love of the Father and the Son.  In verse 25 He tells them more of what the Spirit will do after He has come at Pentecost.

John 14:25,26.

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 at 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, 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.

John 16:12-16

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.
There were at least five reasons why they were not able to bear such a burden at that point is five-fold, as follows:
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 Him say. 
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.  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”, Matthew 17:5.  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 say also unto thee”, 16:18.  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 2:33.
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, “but” 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 from John chapters 7,8,14 and 15 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 conversation.  What He hears He transmits to the apostles, so they have the truth as the Godhead knows it.  The apostle Paul could write, “we have the mind of Christ”, 1 Corinthians 2:16.  The “we” in this context meaning the apostles.  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 to come”. 
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 33:18-23; 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 one in essence, 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 that the Father is handing things to Christ, 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. 

Part 2        The process of imparting the truth- the Divine side.

The process by which Divine truth was imparted to inspired persons is further spoken of in 1 Corinthians 2.  In verses 1-5 the wisdom of the world is disowned by Paul in his preaching.  He has affirmed in chapter 1 that the cross of Christ has cancelled the world’s wisdom, for the world had thousands of years to bring forth an effective means of knowing God, but miserably failed.  It stands condemned as ineffective, and powerless to save.  This being the case, the apostle saw that the use of worldly-wise methods in the presentation of truth was pointless.  He assures us, however, that Divine wisdom can be imparted, and proceeds to show how this happens.

1 Corinthians 2:6  Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:

Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect- the foregoing does not mean that Paul, by turning from worldly wisdom, taught that which had no wisdom attached to it.  Far from it, as he now tells us.  There were two sides to the system of pagan religion prevailing at the time.  There was the external worship of an idol, and its associated vice and corruption.  Then there was what Revelation 2:24 calls “the depths of Satan”, the evil doctrines that only the initiated knew about.  These were they who had been introduced into the hidden secrets behind the pagan system by a person known as a hierophant, or temple teacher.  Such persons, once they had advanced in the mysteries of the religion, were called the perfected ones, and were allowed into the presence of the god. 
The Holy Spirit lifts the word “perfected” out of this pagan setting, and sanctifies it to express the position of those who have been taught by God’s teachers, and who can therefore be described as perfect.  Not perfect in the sense that they have no sin, but in the sense that the whole range of Divine Truth has been unfolded to them.  But instead of this position being reserved just for the few, as with the pagan system, every Christian is perfected in this sense, having committed himself to the doctrine of the apostles, or, as Romans 6:17 puts it, has “obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine that was delivered you”. 
Yet not the wisdom of this world- the insight into the true nature of things that Paul was enabled to impart owed nothing to the wisdom of this age, (which is the word for “world” used here), for the present time is marked by the fact that it follows the violent rejection of God’s Son.  How can any good come from a world like that?
Nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought- it did not owe anything to the princes of this world either.  These would be those versed in the opinions and philosophies of the world, the nobles mentioned in chapter 1.  Their supposed wisdom did not stop them perishing, as 1:18 has already said, so they came to nought.  It is no good listening to perishing men.  So the believers come to perfection, whilst the princes come to nought.

2:7  But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery- God has His mysteries, too, yet He introduces the secrets of His heart into the minds of all His people through the teachings of the apostles.  He does not limit His disclosures to a favoured few.  It is not that the apostle spoke in such a way that things were still mysterious after he had set them out.  Rather, he defines the wisdom he unfolds as being part of that body of truth which God had withheld up to that point in time, but which it was His will to disclose through the New Testament apostles and prophets.  So it is “the wisdom of God in a mystery”, and not “we speak in a mystery the wisdom of God”.
Even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world- much of what is unfolded in the New Testament was unknown to the saints of the Old Testament.  It was hidden in God’s heart, as Ephesians 3:9 also testifies.  God created all things by Jesus Christ, (including the ages of time, Hebrews 1:2), so He is in total control.  He could have arranged for these things to be unfolded sooner if it had been His mind to do so.  He chose not to, mainly because it needed the coming of the Spirit of God for believers to be able to take in the full truth He had in mind to tell.  As the Lord Jesus said, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.  Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth”, John 16:12,13.
Unto our glory- the matters set out in the apostles’ doctrine have to do with the position of privilege to which believers are brought in Christ.

2:8  Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

Which none of the princes of this world knew- those versed in this world’s wisdom had no idea as to who Christ really was.  They are the mighty, noble and rich people of chapter 1, who gloried in their natural abilities, but had no grasp of spiritual and Divine realities.  Their thinking was governed by a world-view that dismissed the truth of God, and therefore it is no surprise they were ignorant.  This applied even to the chief priests and rulers of Israel, for they are described as ignorant by the apostle Peter in Acts 3:17. 
For had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory- they really believed they were crucifying a blasphemous carpenter from Nazareth.  They refused to believe that He was the Son of God, despite the infallible proofs of this He gave them.  This is a sure indication that they were governed by natural thinking, despite their religion.  It is not simply that they crucified Him because they were unbelievers, but rather, because they were convinced they were right, they thought there would be no repercussions from crucifying Him.  Hence their fear when they were told He was risen from the dead.  His resurrection is a sure indicator that He will judge men, Acts 17:31.  They could have just let Him live and die in the ordinary course of events.  Because they sought to hasten His death, they showed themselves ignorant of the true nature of things. 
Not only is Jesus Christ the Lord of glory as to His personal worth, but also as the one who brings His people into a position of glory, as the previous verse has indicated.

2:9  But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

But as it is written- the apostle now appeals to the Old Testament scriptures to prove his point, and makes a quotation from Isaiah 64:4.
“Eye hath not seen- mention had been made of the wise men, scribes and disputers of this world in 1:20.  They have been confounded by the wisdom and power of God demonstrated at Calvary.  But what of the scribes in Israel, have they been any more successful in penetrating the depths of the mind of God?  Says Isaiah, in effect, they have not written it down so that our eyes can run along the lines and learn what God has in store, for it was kept even from the inspired writers of the Old Testament.
Nor ear heard- what of those who debated the things of God in Israel, can they tell us?
Neither have entered into the heart of man- can it be said of the wise men in Israel that the mysteries of God ever entered into their hearts as they sought to know God better?
The things which God hath prepared for them that love Him”- the things were prepared, so New Testament truth is not an afterthought with God.  The things taught by the apostles were planned in eternity, and disclosed when it was appropriate to do so.  Isaiah wrote “him that waiteth for Him”, whereas Paul by the same Spirit writes, “them that love Him”.  We learn by this that those who wait for God to reveal His truth do so because they love Him; love for the truth is love for the God of truth.  The Lord Jesus linked love of the truth with love of the Father and Himself in the upper room ministry.  His words were, “He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him.  Judas saith unto Him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that Thou wilt manifest Thyself unto us, and not unto the world?  Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him.  He that loveth Me not keepeth not My sayings: and the word which ye hear is not Mine, but the Father’s which sent Me”, John 14:21-24.

2:10  But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit- in the first instance this refers to the inspired teachers of the New Testament era, and secondarily, to those who receive their teaching.  As we have already noticed, the Lord Jesus said that “the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things”, John 14:26.  And again, “I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.  Howbeit, when He, the Spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth”, John 16:13.  So there is to be further truth, after the Spirit has come at Pentecost; full truth, for the Spirit will guide into all truth; and final truth, for He will teach all things, and after that there will be nothing else to say.
For the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God- the whole range of Divine truth is open to the Spirit, since He is a Divine person.  He is able to guide us if we have an interest in exploring the breadth of the truth of God.  But we should also explore the depth of it too, for the Spirit can reach deep down into the mind of God and reveal truth to us that they natural mind could never discover.  David said of God, “Thy thoughts are very deep”, Psalm 92;5, and he was, of course, right.  But what is well beyond the reach of the wise men of the world is discoverable by the interested believer.  Such a believer is described in verse 15 as “he that is spiritual”.

2:11  For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him?  The apostle uses an illustration we can readily understand, to bring out two points.  The first is that the things that are being thought in a man’s spirit, in the inner recesses of his being, can only be known by that man.  Of course God knows, but that is not the point here; it is “what man knoweth”.  Another man cannot know the secrets of a man’s spirit.
Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God- the second point is that if a natural man cannot know what the mind of a fellow-man is, it stands to reason that he cannot understand the mind of a Divine person.  But the Spirit of God stands in the same relation to the Godhead as a man’s spirit stands in relation to himself.  Just as man is a tripartite being, consisting of spirit, soul, and body, so God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  And just as having three parts to our being does not make us three beings, so having three persons in the Godhead does not make the Godhead three gods.  This is an incidental testimony to the Deity of the Holy Spirit.  The apostle is driving home the lesson that if we are to know Divine wisdom, and gain insight into the true nature of things, then we can only do so through the Holy Spirit.  It is only as we accept what the Spirit says in the Scriptures that we can understand what is in the mind of God. 

2:12  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world- with the word “now” the apostle begins to bring out the implications of what he has said just before.  The spirit of the world is that sum total of thoughts, opinions, viewpoints and reasonings of the men of the world which combine together to govern its attitudes and actions.  If the apostles were governed by the world’s thinking, (as, alas, some of the Corinthian believers were), then they would not be able to discern the truth of God.
But the Spirit which is of God- instead of receiving the sum total of the world’s thinking, he has received the Spirit of God, who is able to disclose the sum total of Divine thoughts, insofar as it is God’s mind for us to know them at this time.  This Spirit is “of God”, the preposition being “apo”, meaning “away from”.  The thought is that the Spirit has been sent away from God into our hearts, for we come into the good of Pentecost when we believe.  The word of the Lord Jesus has come to pass, for the Holy Spirit has been sent in His name, as He promised, John 14:26.
That we might know the things that are freely given to us of God- God not only gives His wisdom to His people, but gives His Spirit to them so that they may know and understand it.  God has freely given these things, yet too often we are not much interested in Divine things; this is to our loss, and disappoints God. 

2:13  Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Spirit teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

Which things also we speak- as they heard inspired men expound Divine truth, the believers at Corinth could hear the things of God.  They could no longer say, “Ear hath not heard”.
Not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth- not only were the thoughts from God, but the very words used to convey the words were of God too.  The intellectuals of the world would speak in far different terms to the apostles, but they were not conveying Divine truth.  This is not to say, of course, that the apostles spoke in a language that was not used on earth.  They used ordinary words, but not in the way the wise of the world would use them as they engaged in their philosophical debates. 
But which the Holy Ghost teacheth- as inspired men, the apostles were guided by the Holy Spirit as they spoke and wrote.  The apostle Peter likened the prophets of the Old Testament era to ships which were carried along by the wind in their sails, 2 Peter 1:21.  So the Spirit moved men along as they convey Divine truth.  They are thereby taught by the Spirit what to say, and what words to use.
Comparing spiritual things with spiritual- by the Spirit of God certain thoughts entered the minds of inspired men.  Because they came from the Spirit, the things communicated were spiritual things.  But it was men who were responsible for speaking those things, and writing them down.  They were still themselves as they did so, and their own character came through as they spoke, but they were Spirit-filled men, and the Spirit of God was totally in control, even though He was using human agents.  So as spiritual truths were instilled into the minds of inspired men by the direct action of the Holy Spirit, they were matched, in their minds, by the appropriate words to convey those truths.  The whole process was superintended by the Holy Spirit, but without at any time over-riding the personality of the speakers. 
We see this process referred to by the Lord Jesus in connection with David and his writings in the Psalms.  In relation to the words of Psalm 110, the Lord asked, “How then doth David in Spirit call Him Lord?” Matthew 22:43.  In Mark 12:36 it is, “For David himself said by the Holy Spirit”.  In Luke 20:42 it is “And David himself saith in the book of Psalms”.  So David himself was speaking and writing, (Luke); he was doing so by the power of the Spirit, (Mark); he was in a spiritual state as he did so, (Matthew).  So also did the inspired men of this age speak.
Notice that even though he is referring to the Book of Psalms, the Lord indicates that David “saith”.  The very words of David are preserved in his writings.  And moreover, it is as if David is speaking in the present, for it is not “David said”, but, “David saith”.  The word of God is as up-to-date and relevant now as the day it was given.  Paul could speak of “the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day”, Acts 13:27.  So the prophets are still speaking.
The apostle makes no reference to writings in this passage, for two reasons.  The first is the one just cited, that the written word is one with the spoken word, for what David wrote is what David is still saying, by the power of the Spirit of God.  We have the inspired record of what inspired men said as they preached.  The second reason is that inspired men spoke words to their amanuensis or scribe the words the Holy Spirit instructed them to speak.  We see this in the case of Jeremiah and Baruch his scribe: 
“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.”  Jeremiah 36:4.  So the words were spoken and then written, but what was written still retained its character as a Spirit-given word.  So it is that we often come across the phrase, “as the scripture saith”, or, “what saith the Scripture?”   And the very fact that is “saith” in the present, and not “said” in the past, reminds us that the Word of God “liveth and abideth for ever”, 1 Peter 1:23.  They are ever present in their relevance and power.
So we no longer have to say “ear has not heard”, for we hear inspired men in their writings; nor say “eye hath not seen”, for we have the writings before us; nor say “things have not entered into the heart of man”, for they have, as the Spirit taught them, and they in turn have taught us, so that we may have Divine truth in our hearts.

We learn more of this process of inspiration from 2 Peter 1:20,21.

2 Peter 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. 
That 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. A private interpretation 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- 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. 

Part 3    The process of imparting the truth- the human side.

A description of the way Scripture was written is given to us by Luke, who was responsible for two the books of the Bible, Luke’s Gospel and The Acts of the Apostles.  That means he was responsible for some 25% of the New Testament.  His testimony will be valuable even for that reason alone.
As he began his gospel, Luke wrote as follows:

1:1  “Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,
1:2  even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word;
1:3  it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,
1:4  that thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed” Luke 1:1-4.

Luke 1:1  Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,

Forasmuch- Luke is giving to us the reasoning behind the writing of his gospel.  He does not parade inspiration as a forger would try to do.  He does not strain to impress us with his credentials, but simply states what moved him to write.  The best proof that Luke wrote by inspiration is that his works passed the test of apostolic scrutiny, and were accepted wholeheartedly as being inspired Scripture.
As many have taken in hand- this means “to make the attempt”.  Even though many others had written accounts of the Lord’s life, his was different.  He does not criticise the “many” who did this, but he will imply a difference between himself and them. 
Notice the four parties involved in these four verses:

Verse 1 “many” who wrote down what they heard preached.
Verse 2 “they” eye-witnesses and ministers, who did the preaching.
Verse 3 “me” Luke himself
Verse 4 “Theophilus” the original recipient of Luke’s gospel.

This is the order in which Luke puts these things, but the order of events was as follows:
Verse 2:  Men who were eye-witnesses of the life of Christ, ministered the word by setting out what they had seen and heard.
Verse 1:  Some of those who heard them preach put on record what they heard.
Verse 3:   Luke resolved to do the same, but in a more thorough way.
Verse 4:  Theophilus is sent the finished gospel, so that his faith may be strengthened.

To set forth in order a declaration- to go over again in order, in the form of a narrative.  So Luke is not referring here to odd jottings, but systematic writings.  He is obviously impressed with the orderly way in which they went about their self-imposed task. 
Of those things which are most surely believed among us- otherwise known as “the faith once delivered to the saints”, Jude 3, or “that form of doctrine that was delivered unto you”, Romans 6:17.  Luke joins with these narrative-writers to state his firm belief in the things about which they wrote.  So Luke is not referring to those who wrote heretical gospels, for these did not write things that Christians believed.  In any case, they did not produce their works until the apostles were gone, for they knew they would condemn them.

1:2  even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word;

Even as they delivered them unto us- the “they” does not refer to the people of verse 1, but the ones described in the second half of this verse as eye-witnesses and ministers.  So both Luke, and the “many” of verse 1, heard the ministry of the eye-witnesses to the life of Christ.  And it is from these latter that Luke learnt about the things Christians surely believe.
Which from the beginning were eyewitnesses- there is no reason to think that the “beginning” referred to here is any different to the beginning that John refers to in his first epistle, where he describes the display of eternal life being “from the beginning”.  Or different from the beginning the Lord Himself spoke of when He described the disciples as having been with Him from the beginning, John 15:27.  Or again, the beginning referred to by Peter when he defined an apostle as one who must have been with the Lord Jesus from the beginning, this being the start of His public ministry, Acts 1:21.  They were eye-witnesses, so they actually saw things happen; they did not rely on the testimony of others.
And ministers of the word- not only were these people eye-witnesses of the Lord’s life, they were also, after Pentecost, those who taught the people of God as ministers of the word.  The word being the truth about Christ to which they were able to bear witness.

1:3  it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,

It seemed good to me also- so Luke had the strong desire to record the life of Christ.  The Holy Spirit used his good intention, even though he did not use the good intention of the men of verse 1.  That Luke’s Gospel is different is seen in the fact that it has survived the scrutiny of the apostles, and was accepted by them as authentic.
Having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first- Luke very gently and politely asserts his superior claim over the others that had the desire to write.  His understanding was perfect, or accurate, and it was thorough, for he had understanding of all things, and it was extensive, being from the very first.  He does not say that he had to rely on the ministers of the word, even though they were eye-witnesses; on the other hand, he does not say he ignored what they taught.
This statement does not mean that Luke had knowledge of Christian things as soon as Christ began His ministry.  It means that his understanding of things as he wrote his account reached back to the very first things that took place. 
To write unto thee in order- this is a further feature of Luke’s writings, that they are orderly.  Whilst his gospel is in general terms in chronological order, nonetheless Luke is the one of the four gospel writers who departs from literal order the most, so as to give the moral order of the things he records.  For instance, he records the imprisonment of John the Baptist before he records the baptism of Christ by John the Baptist.  He is departing from chronological order in order to make a moral point, namely, that the Lord Jesus was fully aware of the consequences of committing Himself to Calvary by being baptised.  Thos who are consecrated to God will always be persecuted by the world, whether it be Christ when he was here, or John the Baptist, or believers today.
Most excellent Theophilus- the title Luke uses for Theophilus is also used for Felix and Festus in the Book of the Acts.  This suggests he was a high-ranking official, and Luke is careful to give honour to whom honour is due, as exhorted in Romans 13:7.  Luke is not ashamed to write to this most excellent person about a carpenter, because Luke knows that, however excellent and noble Theophilus is, the One of who he writes is much more noble than he.  He writes a dignified opening to his gospel to a dignified personage, about the most dignified and noble man that has ever lived.

1:4  that thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.

That thou mightest know the certainty of those things- “certainty” comes from a word which means “not tripped up”.  Luke is ensuring that nothing stumbles Theophilus as he walks the Christian pathway.  It might be that at some time he might think that to believe in a Galilean peasant is a strange thing to do.  Luke, however, is able to confirm Theophilus in the faith, and show him that all such misgivings are unwarranted.  One way he does this by listing an array of notables who held power when John the baptist was about to start preaching, Luke 3:1,2.  Yet notwithstanding their greatness and prestige, “the Word of God came to John in the wilderness”.  Passing by the princes of this world, God revealed His will to John, not in a palace but in a desert.
Wherein thou hast been instructed- this tells us that Theophilus had been instructed orally in the truths of the Christian faith, but now something even better was to be passed on to him, an inspired account of the life of Christ that would surpass anything he had heard up to that point.  And what Theophilus received, we receive too, for the gospel has been preserved for our encouragement even in the 21st century.

Part 4    The purpose for imparted the truth.

We turn now to the words of the apostle Paul as he wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3. 
Verses 1-9 are an exposure of corrupt men, 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. 

Verses 10-13 give an example of a godly man, the apostle Paul himself, the direct contrast to the evil men just mentioned.  A man whose doctrine, manner of life, and willingness to suffer for what he believed, were the result of a settled faith in the Scriptures.

In verses 14-17 there is an exhortation to a young man, for the apostle exhorts Timothy to be the same as he was, 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.

The apostle now speaks about the Holy Scriptures:

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.  (See Luke 4:16,17, where there is handed to the Lord Jesus “the book of the prophet Esaias”, and when He had finished reading from it, He described it as “scripture”, Luke 4:17,21).  Moses had been instructed to write in a book the words of the law, and deposit it in the side of the ark in the tabernacle, Deuteronomy 31:24-27.  And this book was transferred to the temple, for many centuries later we read that in the house of the Lord “Hilkiah the priest found a book of the law of the Lord given by Moses.  And Hilkiah answered and said to Shaphan the scribe, ‘I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord'”, 2 Chronicles 34:14,15.  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.  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- of course it is true that unbelievers can be made wise unto salvation through the Holy Scriptures, but that is not the point here.  Paul has been warning Timothy of men who would lead him into error if they could.  What can save him from that error?  The Scriptures.  So 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.  So the word must be mixed with faith.
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.  The Lord Jesus affirmed that “the Scripture cannot be broken”, John 10:35.  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, with the result that 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 in the case of the prophet Jeremiah:
“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 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’…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 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”.  Jeremiah 36:1,2, 4,17,18, 23, 32.

So in some mysterious way God breathed into the minds of His prophets the truth they were to write, but he did not over-ride their own personality, as we see when we compare the different books of the Bible.  They each have their own style, but God used it to further His purpose, as He carried them along by His Spirit.  The Lord Jesus depended on “every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” Matthew 4:4, so He believed that the Old Testament Scriptures to which He was referring were what God had said.  He did not believe that they were 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.
Strictly speaking, inspiration is the process by which the Scripture-content was communicated to those commissioned to write.  It was not so much that the men were inspired, but that the process was inspiration. 
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.

3:17  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.

Part 5    The pointing out of imparted truth.

Having been inspired of God, how are the Scriptures to be authenticated, so that we know what writings are from God and what are not?  To gain light on this, we turn now to the end of John’s gospel, and the last few verses, which read as follows:
21:18  Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.
21:19  This spake He, signifying by what death he should glorify God.  And when He had spoken this, He saith unto him, Follow me.
21:20  Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on His breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth Thee?
21:21  Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?
21:22  Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?  follow thou Me.
21:23  Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?
21:24  This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.
21:25  And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

These verses follow the incident in which Peter was publicly re-instated amongst the apostles after his sad and three-fold denial of the Lord.  He has already had a private interview with Christ, Mark 16:7; 1 Corinthians 15:5, but this is public.  He is tested with regard to his love for the Lord, and affirms that he does love Him, despite his denials.  As a result, he is entrusted with the task of shepherding amongst the flock of God. 
The reason why Peter had to be reinstated publicly amongst the apostles was because he had said in their hearing that he was prepared to go into death for Him.  He had said this, moreover, in the context of the Lord commanding them to love one another, John 13:34-38.  In Mark’s account, we learn that Peter also said, “Although all shall be offended, yet will not I”, Mark 14:29.  To assert that he would outdo the other apostles was not a very loving thing to do, because it suggested that their love was of a lesser quality to his.  He has come to realise that his love was not as strong as he thought, and he had denied his Lord, a thing which the other ten apostles had not done.

21:18  Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.

Verily, verily, I say unto thee- we might be startled by the occurrence of these words in this connection.  They always introduce doctrine of prime importance in John’s gospel, so we are prepared by the use of this expression for some fresh revelation.  Coming as they do before a prophecy about the manner of Peter’s death, and the long life of John, they suggest to us that there is important truth about to be imparted.
When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest- Peter is thought of first as having been young, and then in the next statement as going to be old, suggesting he was middle-aged at the time of this incident.  He was marked by self-sufficiency, (girdest thyself), and determination, (where thou wouldest), in his youth, evidently.  Even the word “girdest” would suggest energy and activity, for in the East a man girded up his loins for strenuous activity, tying up his flowing robes so that he could move freely.  That energy and determination shows itself in Peter in the gospel records, and is one reason why he denied his Lord, for he was relying on his own strength to serve the Lord, which is always a disaster.  The fact that the Lord knew this is a token of His omniscience, for it showed that He knew about Peter long before he was called to be an apostle. 
But when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not- not only is the Lord omniscient about his past private life, but about the future, too, for He knows what will happen to Peter when he has grown old.  He knows also the way in which he will die.  He would do three things, stretch forth his hands, be girded by another, (in contrast to girding himself in his youth), and be taken where he did not wish to go, (in contrast to going where he wished to go).  We are told the meaning of these words in the next verse.

21:19  This spake He, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He saith unto him, Follow me.

This spake He, signifying by what death he should glorify God- in the Upper Room Peter said, “Lord, why cannot I follow Thee now?  I will lay down my life for thy sake”, John 13:37.  Peter here learns that his words are going to be fulfilled in a way he did not anticipate.  Peter was thinking of the time then present; indeed, the very night he spoke the words.  The Lord here informs him that he will be given the opportunity of making good his word, but not for many years. 
If Peter had died trying to defend the Lord from His arrest, trial and crucifixion, that would not have been a death to the glory of God, but rather would have been to the glory of Peter, for men would have admired his heroism.  He is going to die by crucifixion, as is indicated by the Lord’s words here.  Tradition says that this indeed took place, with Peter insisting on being crucified upside down, so that there would be no comparison with the death of His Saviour, even in the physical sense. 
But where did Peter get this idea?  Was it from the order of the Lord’s words of verse 18?  The victim of crucifixion is first taken to the place of execution, then has his hands stretched out on a cross, and then he is bound to the cross.  But the prophecy of Christ about Peter gives the order almost in reverse, the stretching forth of the hands and the girding, and then the carrying where he was unwilling to go.  There is to be no mistaking Peter’s crucifixion for Christ’s; in all things He must be distinct and superior.  There is no mention of being nailed to a cross either, in the case of Peter.  There is only one pierced victim to whom men should look, John 19:37.
So the girding is by another, and for another purpose, even to fasten him to a cross.  (The word gird does not mean to dress, but is derived from the word “belt”).  And instead of walking where he wished, Peter is going to be carried by another to a place he would not wish to go naturally, even to the place of execution.
And when He had spoken this, He saith unto him, Follow Me- how significant this is!  It was by the Sea of Galilee that Peter had first heard the Lord’s call to follow Him, Matthew 4:18-22.  He had done so for three and a half years, and when the Lord Jesus foretold His death, Peter still wanted to follow Him.  We read, “Simon Peter said unto Him, ‘Lord, whither goest Thou?’  Jesus answered him, ‘Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now: but thou shalt follow Me afterwards’.  Peter said unto Him ‘Lord, why cannot I follow Thee now?  I will lay down my life for Thy sake’.  Jesus answered him, ‘Wilt thou lay down thy life for My sake?  Verily, verily I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied Me thrice'”, John 13:36-38. 
Peter learns from these words that the death of the Lord Jesus is unique, for there is that about it that cannot be imitated by another.  But on the other hand, in a lesser sense it that can be imitated in its martyr-character, and Peter is going to follow the Lord to death in that way.  But he is in no fit state spiritually to do that yet.  He must learn his own weakness by denying His Lord.  He vowed to follow here; he denied his Lord with oaths before the night was out.  So by bidding him to follow Him here in John 21, he is reminding him of his former promise, and encouraging him to make good that promise.  Peter had not only promised to follow his Lord, but also to go into prison and death for Him.  He is being exhorted to follow that pathway now, and re-dedicate himself to the Lord, even to that extent.

21:20  Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on His breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth Thee?

Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following- this is the final reference in the gospel to “the disciple whom Jesus loved”, another name for John the apostle.  He had a very real sense of the love of the Lord Jesus.  It was not that the Lord did not love the others, for we read He said, “as My Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you: continue ye in My love”, John 15:9.  So He loved them all, but there were degrees to which each one continued in that love, enjoying it and returning it.  John was one of those who appreciated the love of the Lord for him, and was confident that Jesus loved Him.  It is not surprising then to note that John is said to be following; he does not need to be exhorted to follow Christ, as Peter does.
Which also leaned on His breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth Thee?  The second feature that describes John is that he was the one that Peter had asked to enquire of the Lord about the betrayer.  Significantly, he is said here to have been on the breast of Jesus at the Passover Supper.  As far as position at the table was concerned, he was leaning on the bosom of Christ.  In other words, as they reclined on the floor surrounding the meal-table with their legs stretched out behind them, it was John who was next to Christ, leaning back towards Him.  But in order to ask the Lord about the betrayer, he then leaned back further onto Christ, close to His heart, so to speak.  So it is not his position at the table that describes him here, but the way in which he was able to ask a question of Him.  These two features of John are very significant in this context, and are connected.  Love to the Lord will be concerned about anything and anyone that betrays Him, for love and loyalty go together, and betrayal is the opposite of loyalty.  This sets the scene for the conversation that follows here.

21:21  Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?

Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?  We should not think of this as Peter being a busy-body, and making sure everyone is doing something.  Rather, it is a concern lest the death which has just been predicted for Peter is the same as John shall suffer.  This gives the Lord the opportunity to foretell the personal future of John.  This is the last of seven mentions of Christ as Lord in this chapter.  John wrote twenty-one chapters to show us that Jesus, the historical man of the gospel records, is the Christ, the predicted Messiah of the Old Testament records, and also the Son of God, John 20:31.  In chapter twenty-one he writes to show that this same one is also Lord. 

21:22  Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?  follow thou Me.

Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?  Peter is gently told here that the one he has called Lord is indeed in control of all things.  In this context He is in control of the length of life of His saints.  The Lord does not say that John will survive until the rapture, and so be one of those that shall be “alive and remain”, 1 Thessalonians 4:17 at that moment.  But He does propose it as a possibility.  Whatever actually happens, this does not affect Peter’s personal position.  That will not be altered by what happens to John.  It is the extent of the life of John that is in view here. 
Follow thou Me- far from being preoccupied, however sincerely, with John’s prospects, Peter should concentrate on doing as exhorted, follow the Lord, even though that means going to martyr’s death.

21:23  Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?

Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die- a misunderstanding arose from the Lord’s word, “If I will that he tarry till I come”.  It is simply a statement of possibility, not a prophecy of what will definitely happen.  We should beware of jumping to conclusions in any circumstance, most of all in connection with the statements of Scripture. 
Yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?  John repeats the words so that we may see that it was not the Lord’s statement was unclear, but that He was misunderstood. 
It is true, however, that the possibility that the brethren turned into a certainty was indeed a possibility.  If it had been the will of Christ, John could have survived until the Lord’s coming, if that coming had been within the span of a long lifetime.  Now Peter is going to live until he is old, and then die, so John must surely be going to live until he is old also.  But what purpose is to be swerved by this?
We noticed that the events we have looked at began with the words “Verily, verily”, and we have noted that these words always introduce important doctrine in John’s gospel.  Doctrine, moreover, that is fresh and new.  So what are the new truths that are being presented to us in these incidents, the first involving Peter, and then John?  Remember that John’s gospel has as its theme the gift of eternal life.  We learn here, however, that those who have eternal life may still die.  Of course, in relation to that life they never die, as the Lord stated in John 8:52, “If a man keep My saying, he shall never see death”.  Physical death to such an one is totally different, for the possession of eternal life over-rides all other considerations, almost making death an irrelevance. 
What do we learn from the word to John?  Firstly that there is the possibility for all of us that we may not physically die, for the Lord Jesus is coming not only for “the dead in Christ”, but those who are “alive and remain at His coming”, 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17.
Secondly we learn that as far as John personally was concerned, he was to be granted a long life.  Now why should this be?  For a very good reason.  John lived on and on so that three things might happen.  First, that errors about the person of Christ might arise, so that he might deal with them in his writings.  Second, and connected with this, that John might condemn as heretical the writings of unbelieving men.  Third, that he might be on hand to give his approval to inspired writings as they were produced and circulated.
This is a very valuable, ministry, and merits the “Verily, verily” that introduces it.  We may be sure that all that we receive as being the Word of God is indeed that, and does not contain anything that is spurious, for John was at hand to give it his approval.  Furthermore anything that is produced after his death may be safely put to one side as being uninspired, whether written by unbeliever or believer. 

Part 6    The protection of imparted truth.

In his capacity as the last remaining apostle, John records the warning of the Lord Jesus Himself against adding or taking away from the Word of God, Revelation 22:18,19.  But if there was no settled Word of God, how would we know what to not take from or add to?

His words are as follows:

Revelation 22:18  For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
22:19  And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

This is a most solemn warning, expressing in the most severe terms God’s displeasure with any who tamper with this closing book.  The reason is not difficult to see.  It is a revelation of His Son, and He is jealous of His honour.  Besides this, it is a serious thing to seek to diminish the severity of God’s judgement of the earth, described in the book.  In 1:3 there is a blessing promised to those who keep the book, whereas here a curse is pronounced on those who seek to destroy it. 

This destruction can take place in two ways.  Either by adding, or by taking away.  If words are added, they are man’s words, for there are no inspired persons now.  John was most probably the last of the inspired writers of the New Testament.  To add to this book is to deny that the Spirit has guided the writers into all truth, and since this was promised by the Lord Jesus Himself, John 16:12,13, and effected by the Spirit, to add to them is profane.
If words are taken away, then man’s judgement must be operating, deciding what is suitable and what is not.  This is arrogance to the extreme, and it is no wonder that a curse is pronounced by God on those who do this.  Of course, this adding and taking away does not have to be the physical exclusion of the words, or the inclusion of others.  Preachers also, by what they say, may take and add also, and by so doing modify the truth of God.

Another issue is raised by this warning.  If it is to have any meaning, we must be able to know what the word of God is.  If we do not, we shall not know whether we are adding to it or taking away from it.  This means that there must be a document that can be called “the Word of God”.  It cannot be that God waited until the Revised Version was produced before He gave His people His word.  And since all the versions of the scripture since the Revised Version are simply more of the same, then they all come into the same category.  The truth is that the text of the Authorised Version is the only credible text, having a pedigree stretching back to the originals.  Any attempt, therefore, to tamper with this, is liable to meet with God’s disapproval.
It might be asked where the Bible was before the Authorised Version came along?  To answer this question we must notice the differences between the Old Testament era and the present age.  In the Old Testament times, there was one book in one place.  We read of Moses just before he died, that “he made an end of writing this law in a book”, and that he instructed the Levites, saying, “Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God”, and this is what they did, Deuteronomy 31:24,26.  The law required that the king should “write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests and the Levites”, Deuteronomy 17:18.  In Josiah’s day that book, deposited in the temple was rediscovered, 2 Kings 22:8.  This book was still available after the seventy years in babylon and the return, for we read that Ezra “read in the book of the law of God”, Nehemiah 8:18.  So there was a standard copy from the outset, and additions were made to it as time went by.  Furthermore, the nation of Israel was the custodian of this book, for “unto them were committed the oracles of God”, Romans 3:2. 
In New Testament times things were different, and a different approach was needed in order to preserve God’s written word.  If before there was one book in one place, cared for by one nation, in this present age there have been many manuscripts, scattered throughout the Roman world.  There was wisdom in this, for often the believers were persecuted, and their Scriptures were seized and burnt.  How important that there should be other copies elsewhere, so that when the persecution died down, they could be replaced. 
So if there were many manuscripts in many places, where was the Word of God?  The answer is that it was found in the consensus of the manuscripts that were faithful to the originals, and from which the Authorised Version was produced.  But how is it that it was only in 1611 that God ordained that one version should dominate?  The answer must be that freedom from the domination from Rome had been achieved.  The Reformation had taken place during the 16th Century, and the grip of Rome over the souls of men was broken.  If it had been produced when Rome held sway, then it would have been in danger, for the Papal system hates the Word of God, since it exposes its errors and wickedness. 
In Psalm 12:6-8 the psalmist writes, “The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.  Thou shalt keep them, O Lord: Thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.  The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted”.
We are told several things here.  First, that the words of the Lord are pure.  Second, that He will keep them, that is, will be faithful in doing what He says He will do in His Word.  Third, that He will preserve them, watching over them.  This supposes that God’s Word will have its enemies, hence the next verse declares that “the wicked walk on every side”, and “the vilest men are exalted”.  That this has been the case down the centuries is evident, but God has been true to His promise, and has preserved His Word from the harm His enemies would do to it if they could.  Satan began his temptation of Eve with the words, “Hath God said”, and he has continued as he began, seeking to cast doubt on the Word of God. 

In view of the foregoing, the following is a summary of the events leading up to, and following, the publishing of the Authorised Version of the Scriptures.

AD 29 
The Lord Jesus promises His apostles that the Spirit will come on the Day of Pentecost, and He will teach them, bring to their remembrance all things that He had said unto them, and guide them into all truth.

29-100
Apostle John lives be an old man, so that he may approve the inspired Scriptures of the New Testament, and reject spurious writings.  Once the last epistle has been written, “that which is perfect is come”, 1 Corinthians 13:10.  The faith is now once (that is, once for all) delivered to the saints in written form, Jude 3.
A fragment of Mark’s Gospel was found in Cave 7 at Qumran, the settlement of the Essenes.  This settlement was destroyed by the Romans in AD 70, so the Dead Sea Scrolls were all pre-AD 70.  Different hand-writing styles are distinguishable by experts, enabling manuscripts to be dated, and this portion of Mark’s Gospel is in the handwriting style of the decade 50-59 AD.

The apostles warned against false teachers in Acts 20:29; Galatians 1:8,9; 2 Peter 2:1, so the believers were put on their guard.  And Peter speaks of those who twist Paul’s words, and so warns believers to be watchful, 2 Peter 3:15-18.  Coupled with this, Rev 22:18,19 gives a solemn warning, as we have already seen, to those who add or take away from the scriptures.  If it is not known what the scriptures really are, how can this warning have any meaning?  No-one would know what it is that must not be added to or taken from.
The faithful recognised the authority of New Testament writings from the start, or they would have rejected the authority of the apostles and not been believers.

150 (approx.)
The Greek New Testament was translated into Syrian, and was known as the Peshitto, meaning the “correct”, or “simple”.  This was used throughout Asia for centuries.

157 (approx.)
The Greek New Testament was translated into Latin.  This became known as the Old Latin, and was used throughout Europe by the Waldenses, the Donatists, the Irish in Ireland, Gauls, Celts, Albigenses and many other orthodox believers for 900 years, as long as Latin was a spoken language.  This is not to be confused with the Latin Vulgate, which came later.

200
Tertullian, who lived around the year AD 200 could write, “I hold sure title deeds from the original owners themselves”. 
Irenaus, could write, “the doctrine of the apostles has been handed down by the succession of bishops, being guarded and preserved without any forging of the Scriptures, allowing neither addition nor curtailment, involving public reading without falsification”. Irenaus took great care to ensure faithful transmission of his own writings, how much more the Holy Scriptures.  So in the year 200 the original wording is available.
Gaius, an orthodox father at the end of the 2nd century spoke of four heretics who had disciples multiplying copies of the changed text.  They could not deny their guilt because they could not produce the originals from which they made their copies.  If Gaius could not either, his charges would be meaningless.

The fathers wrote extensively against heretics who had produced many copies of the New Testament incorporating their alterations.  There was a strong feeling against heretics, indicated by such words as, “whoever perverts the sayings of the Lord, that one is the firstborn of Satan”.  “The wicked demons have also put forward Marcion of Pontus “
The fact that heretics taught error “causes us to be more faithful and steadfast.”  Most damage was done by 200 AD.
Iranaeus warns those who made the change of a single figure in the number 666, “there shall be no light punishment upon him who either adds or subtracts anything from the scripture”. 
Origen sought to modify Mathew 19:19, but despite being the most influential commentator in the ancient church at that time, seems to have influenced only one manuscript of a local version of the New Testament, and the Greek tradition was unaffected.
Tatian was the last author to make deliberate changes to the text, but between Origen and Tatian Christian opinion had so changed, that it was no longer possible to make changes in the text whether they were harmless or not, and not be discounted as a heretic.

312
When Constantine wanted to make Christianity the religion of the Roman Empire, he commissioned Eusebius, an admirer of Origen, to produce a New Testament.  During this period between the death of the Apostle John and Constantine, two corrupt versions of the Majority Greek New Testament was produced, one in Alexandria, and another in Palestine.  This latter was probably the work of Origen, an influential “church father”.  Origen taught that Christ was a created being, and said that “The Scriptures are of little value to those who understand them as they are written”.  He believed that the Old Testament was to be thought of as allegory, and not literal.
It was probably this latter was chosen by Constantine, since it was the one favoured by Eusebius an admirer of Origen, and Eusebius was commissioned with the task of producing the translation.  Fifty copies were made, on expensive vellum.  Many experts believe that it is very probable that the manuscripts known as Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, (of which more later), are two of these fifty.  It is these two manuscripts that are the basis of modern translations of the Scriptures from the Revised Version onwards.  They are favoured because they are old.  But the reason they are still with us is that they were not worn out by use.  The authentic manuscripts were copied when they began to be worn, so that good copies were always available.  When the copy had been made, and everyone was satisfied that it corresponded exactly to the one being copied, that older copy was destroyed.  This is why there are no ancient manuscripts of authentic scripture.  So the notion adopted by modern translators that “older is better”, is spurious reasoning.

380
The Roman Catholic church produced a Latin Version, translated by Jerome, using corrupt manuscripts of the type now known as the Vaticanus and Sianiticus, which were the product of heretics of the 3rd and 4th centuries.  Because the Old Latin had become so well-used, it had become known as the Vulgate, meaning “in common use”.  So the Pope named Jerome’s version the Latin Vulgate, to try to give the impression that it was in common use.  But orthodox Christians were not deceived, ignored Jerome’s Vulgate for 900 years, and continued to use the Old Latin. 

1535
Erasmus, a Roman Catholic, but one who opposed and wrote against many of the excesses of the Papal System, was “the most learned man of the sixteenth century”.  He set about to produce a translation that could be used by the common people.  He sifted through the many manuscripts, lectionaries, (manuscripts based on Scripture adapted to be read in church), and commentaries of the church fathers, that were available at the time.  (It is said that it is possible to reconstruct the New Testament from quotations from the Church Fathers).  He soon saw a pattern emerging, that there were a small number of manuscripts that not only differed from the majority, but differed amongst themselves.  He rejected these, including Jerome’s Vulgate, (because it was based on the Vaticanus), and in 1535 published his final edition, a year before his death.

1517
Luther uses Erasmus’ New Testament for his translation into German.  He nails his protests on the door of Wittenburg Cathedral, and the reformation had begun, spreading throughout Europe.  The watchword of the Reformation was, “Faith alone, grace alone, Scripture alone”. 

We must be aware of the fact that Satan hates the Word of God, not only because he hates the truth, (especially as it pertains to the glory of God and His Son), but also because it pronounces his sure doom.  He will stop at nothing to prevent the pure Word of God, and therefore the pure truth of God, from reaching the minds of the people.  In past times he instigated the burning of Bibles in open opposition to the truth.  He used as his agents in this the Roman Catholic system, (it does not deserve the title “church”), and they did all they could to stop the free spread of the Bible.  They did not stop at burning Bibles, however, but went on to burn those who printed and propagated, read, and believed them.  The Papal System thrives on ignorance, and resists the idea that any believer may have an understanding of the will of God through the Bible. 
To say that Jesus Christ is the one mediator, is to dispense with the Pope.  To say that faith in Christ saves, is to do away with the works that the Pope says must be done to gain salvation.  To say that a believer in Christ is eternally secure is to reject the notion of Purgatory and prayers for the dead.  To own the Lordship of Christ is to reject the proud claims of the Pope.  Boniface VIII, who was Pontiff in 1303, said, “It is necessary to salvation that every man should submit to the Pope”.

As a result of the Reformation, the Catholic system was losing its power and influence, (together with its riches and easy life-style), so it resolved to try to counter the effect of the free spread of the Scriptures and the preaching of the gospel of the grace of God.  There were just too many who were being delivered from the bondage and misery in which they had been held by Rome for it to be indifferent.

Within thirty five years of Luther posting his ninety-five charges against the papacy on the door of Wittenburg Cathedral, thus signalling the start of the Reformation, two-thirds of Europe was Protestant.  England, Germany, the Scandinavian countries, Holland and Switzerland had abandoned Rome, and France, Poland, Bavaria, Austria and Belgium were on the brink of doing so. 

1534
The Pope was alarmed at the spread of true Christianity, and to counter this trend the Society of Jesus, (otherwise simply known as the Jesuits), was formed under Ignatius Loyala in 1534.  Under his leadership the colleges and universities of Europe were to be infiltrated by those bound by solemn oath to undermine the Scriptures, and return men to obedience to the Pope.  Loyala instructed the Jesuits, “We must see black as white if the church says so”. 
So it was that soon 287 colleges and universities in Europe were dominated by the Jesuits, producing generations of clergy taught by them, and who would be sympathetic to Satan’s attack on the Scriptures.  These clergy would not be confined to the Catholic congregations, but would creep in unawares into Protestant seats of learning too, as we shall see.  They were taught that since the apostle Paul became a Jew to gain and win the Jews, 1 Corinthians 9:20, it was permitted for Catholics to become, (or appear to become) Protestants, in order to undermine the Protestant cause, and above all, undermine the Protestant Bible. 

They will seek to achieve this by fair means or foul, for the General of the Jesuits, (known as the Black Pope), “absolves the irregularity issuing from bigamy, injuries done to others, murder, assassination…as long as these wicked deeds were not publicly known and thus cause of a scandal”, Edmond Paris, “The Secret History of the Jesuits”, The Protestant Truth Society, London, 1975. 

1536
Tyndale was burnt at the stake in Belgium for translating the Bible into English and distributing copies.

1545-1563
At the Catholic Council of Trent, held from 1545-1563, the first four matters that were discussed, and which they agreed to condemn were these:
1.  They condemned those who said “That the Holy Scriptures contained all things necessary for salvation, and that it was impious to place traditional on a level with Scripture”.  (So things other than the truths of the Bible were necessary for salvation.  What those things are we next learn).
2.  They condemned those who said “That certain books accepted as canonical in the Vulgate were apocryphal and not canonical”.  (So we are to accept non-inspired writings as being of equal authority to the Scriptures.  The Papacy includes the Apocrypha in its bible because, amongst other things, it supports prayers for the dead, a lucrative source of income from grieving relatives anxious about the fate of their loved ones).
3. They condemned those who said “That Scripture must be studied in the original languages, and that there were errors in the Vulgate”.  (The Papacy feared those who were competent to read Scripture in Greek.  They also wanted to withhold the Bible from the general public who could not read the Latin of the Vulgate, the Catholic version of the Scriptures.  Power must be left in the hands of the priesthood, and the masses kept ignorant).
4. They condemned those who said “That the meaning of Scripture is plain, and that it can be understood without commentary by the help of God’s Spirit”.  (Again, the object is to hinder the reading of Scripture other than by (Jesuit-trained) priests, who can hold the congregation in their power, and ensure they only do what the Pope decrees).

Notice that these are the things uppermost in the minds of those gathered at the Council, and are directed against the teachings of Luther.  They see that, above all else, the Protestant Scriptures, widely circulated and placed in the hands of the ordinary person in their own language, will be the death-blow to Catholicism, which thrives on ignorance and fear. 

1603
James VI of Scotland united Scotland and England under himself, and took the title James 1 in 1603.  Even though his mother was a Catholic, he was a fervent and devout Protestant, and saw the need for a Bible in English, so that the ordinary citizens of the country could have free access to it.  Accordingly, in 1604 he initiated the process of translating the Bible into English using the Majority Text, and ignoring the corrupt Text used by Jerome for the Catholic Bible, the Vulgate.

This was too much for the Jesuits, so they plotted to kill the King, abduct his children, put Princess Elizabeth on the throne, and marry her to a Catholic.  By this they hoped to thwart the thing they dreaded, a Protestant Bible in English.  So it was that the Gunpowder Plot was hatched, and the attempt was made to blow up Parliament with the King present, and thus precipitate change.  As everyone knows, this plot was foiled, and the traitor Guy Fawkes, (who had access to the King of Spain), together with his other Catholic accomplices, were hanged. 

1611
The Authorised Version published.  This was the work of 47 men, (originally 54, but some withdrew or died before the process was finished), divided into six companies, two meeting in Cambridge, two in Westminster, and two in  Oxford.  These companies consisted of highly learned and pious men, whose knowledge of the languages involved was unsurpassed.  They could also call on experts in other fields to advise on technical points.
Each member of the committee made a translation before they came together. Then they met to compare each other’s work, and agree a draft form.  Then the draft was circulated amongst the other five committees for their consideration.  When a near-final form was approved by all, it was submitted to a select committee for examination, and then two members went through the whole translation again for final checking.

They used very few manuscripts as they did their work, for they knew that the vast majority of the manuscripts available agreed with one another.  They were easily able to detect the spurious manuscripts like the Vaticanus, (which had been discovered in the Vatican Library in 14xxx), because they not only contained readings that were at variance with the majority, and even disagreed with manuscripts of like sort, but omitted large portions of Scripture.  So Genesis 1-26; Psalms 103-138; Matthew 16??; Romans 16:24; the Pasoral Epistles; and Hebrews 9:14-end of the epistle are nowhere to be found.
The Vaticanus was very carelessly copied, so that in the Gospels alone words or clauses are left out in 1491 places.  On many occasions 10,20, 30, or even 40 words are left out through sheer carelessness.  Letter and words, and even whole sentences are frequently written twice over, or begun and then cancelled.  115 times clauses were omitted because they finished like the previous clause.  The list of omitted words and phrases is as follows: Matthew 330; Mark 365; Luke 439; John 357; Acts 384; Epistles 681.
What does this tell us about the reliability of this manuscript?  What does it tell us of the men who transcribed it?  Where is the sanctified care with which the Holy Scriptures should be transmitted?  Where is the diligence which destroys a whole sheet if a single mistake is found?  One of Origen’s remarks comes to mind: “The Scriptures are of little value to those who understand them as they are written”.  Such a low view of the actual words of Scripture is reflected in the casual, and indeed criminal way in which Vaticanus comes down to us.  Clearly the threat of Divine judgement on those who take away from, or add to the Scriptures has very little impact on those involved in the production and transmission of such a manuscript.  It is no surprise that those who translated the Authorised Version had no place for such a monstrous imposture.

There are two main ways in which a translation may be carried out.  It may be on the principle of literal equivalence, or the principle of dynamic equivalence.  Literal equivalence sets out to faithfully transmit from one language to another the actual words used in the first language.  Nothing will be ignored, nothing will be added.  The sense of the words used will, as far as possible, be reproduced in the second language.  Sometimes, of course, this cannot be done in a literal way, because, for instance, the first language may have a peculiar way of expressing a thought, and the second language does not have that facility.  Then careful attention will have to be given to the way in which the thought is expressed. 

With dynamic equivalence, it is not so much the words that are translated, but the thoughts.  Now this, of course, puts the reader of the resulting translation at the mercy of the translator.  His ideas on a passage are now incorporated into the translation.  The door is open for any and every evil to intrude.  Even if this does not happen, it is still true that the principle is wrong.  It is far better to translate literally, (as well as intelligibly), and leave passages slightly obscure, than to impose the ideas of the translator on the text.

Another factor with dynamic equivalence is that the translator does not feel obliged to translate every word, as long as, in his opinion, that word is in some way represented in the translation.  The New International Version is well-known for its constant omission of words in this way. 

The Authorised Version preserves reverent address to God.  As we see from Acts 4:24-30, the early believers, when assembled together for prayer, prefaced their petitions with quotation from Scripture, and then proceeded to appeal to God on that basis as well.  This is the only recorded assembly prayer in the Scriptures, so establishes important precedents.  Now if we are going to copy their good example, we shall quote Scripture too.  But what if we wish to preserve in our speech that reverence for God that the use of “Thee” and Thou” represents, and the translation we use and memorise lowers the standard, and descends to the “You and yours” level?  There will be a conflict in our minds.  Far better to be thought of as old-fashioned, and give God His right and separate place, than to be thought of as modern and up-to-date, yet lower the level at which we speak to our Holy God.  Holy and reverend is His name, Psalm 111:9, and our address to Him should reflect that.  If there are those who find it difficult to master that way of speaking, the solution is simple.  The reading, constantly and regularly, of the Authorised Version will train the mind, so that its way of addressing God becomes our way.  We learnt to speak by imitating the speech of our parents; why can we not learn to address God by learning the speech of the Authorised Version?

One objection that some use against the Authorised Version is that it uses “Old English” language.  This is not the case. The English language has gone through three phases.  From 449 AD, when the Angles, Saxons and Jutes invaded England, until approximately 1100AD, Old English was spoken, and as the illustration above shows, would not be recognisable to us today.
Then from 1100AD, soon after the Norman’s invaded, French was mixed with English to produce a version of English which also we would not understand today. 
Modern English came into existence about 1450AD, and was settled by the end of the 16th century.  So it was that the English language was at its purest and best at the time of the Authorised Version.  The fact that it seems a little out-of-date at times to us is because the English language has degenerated.

The following is in Old English:
“Fæder ure þu þe eart on heofonum, Si þin nama gehalgod. to becume þin rice, gewurþe ðin willa, on eorðan swa swa on heofonum. urne gedæghwamlican hlaf syle us todæg, and forgyf us ure gyltas, swa swa we forgyfað urum gyltendum. and ne gelæd þu us on costnunge, ac alys us of yfele”.
It is very evident that this is not the language of the Authorised Version.
The same verses in Modern English are as follows:
“Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.  Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”, Matthew 6:9-13.
There is nothing in that paragraph that a modern Englishman could not understand, as far as the words are concerned, yet that was a quotation form the Authorised Version of 1611.

The following is John 3:16 as found in Wyclif’s translation, made in 1380 AD,  and therefore in Middle English:
“For God louede so the world, that he yaf his `oon bigetun sone, that ech man that bileueth in him perische not, but haue euerlastynge lijf.”
Whilst some of these words are recognisable, especially as the verse is so well-known, in no sense is this Modern English. 

With the success of the Authorised Version, the Papacy had to adopt different tactics as it carried out the Devil’s work for him.  The apostle Peter spoke of Satan as a roaring lion, 1 Peter 5:8, but the apostle Paul warned of Satan’s ability to transform himself into an angel of light, and also his ministers, human agents who are the front for his underhanded and sinister schemes, 2 Corinthians 11:14,15.  His “roaring lion” tactics having miserably failed, and the spread of the Authorised Bible forging ahead, he turned himself into an angel of light.

If a version has been produced which exposes the errors of the Catholic System, then it must at all costs be undermined.  Accordingly, the plan was to infiltrate the Universities of England, so that those in places of influence in the Church of England would be prepared to accept a different sort of Bible.  The Pope did not mind how long that took, as long as it was achieved, and Christians were deprived of the Book that exposed the Catholic System for what it was, an imposture. 
So it was that the Jesuits set about their task, and by 1800 those in places of religious influence were ready to have foisted on them Satan’s counterfeit bible.  At the same time, there were those who started to criticise the Bible, a thing unheard of before, except in the case of rank infidels.  There was a French priest by the name of Richard Simon; a French Catholic named Jean Astruc; a German, Eichhorn; a Catholic priest in Scotland, Alexander Geddes; and the Catholic Bishop of Philadelphia, Dr Kenrich.  All these engaged in the “science” of Bible Criticism, subjecting the Word of God to the reasonings of men.

One man who was prominent in preparing the way for the acceptance of an alternative bible, was Cardinal Wiseman.  He was born in England, but went to study in Rome.  Whilst there, he had several prominent visitors.  One was Archbishop Trench, who came back to England to promote a revision of the Authorised Bible.  Then there was John Henry Newman, who visited Wiseman in 1833, and who came back to England saying, “I have a work to do in England”.  He began what came to be known as the “Oxford Movement”, he being the leader of Oxford University.  He, and those allied with him, continued preaching publicly Protestant doctrines from the pulpit, but advance Catholic doctrines privately and secretly.  The “Oxford Movement” was exposed in 1841 after Newman wrote a tract which suggested that the 39 Articles of the Church of England were not contrary to Catholic teachings. 

The “Movement” came to an end openly, but the principles that lay behind it continued.  Newman left the Church of England and became a Catholic, taking 150 Anglican clergymen with him.  But the Jesuits were still present, concealed amongst the Anglican clergy, ready to influence the minds of those under their control.  So it was that in xxx the Convocation of the Church of England called for a revision of the Authorised Version.  Work began in 1871, and the New Testament was finished in 1881, the Old Testament in 1884.
There were two men who dominated the proceedings of the committee.  One was B.W. Westcott, and the other F.J.A. Hort, who had been one of Westcott’s private pupils.  These two men were totally opposed to the Authorised Version and the manuscripts that supported it. 

They were rank liberals, Hort not believing in Creation; the Fall of man; a personal Devil, a literal Hell; atonement by blood; or the infallibility of Scripture.  What he did believe in was Darwin’s theory of evolution; purgatory; baptismal regeneration;
As for Westcott, he did not believe in creation either; thought Moses and David were poetical characters that Christ referred to because the people thought they were real; did not believe in the miracles in the Bible, (although he did believe that miracles happened at Lourdes!); that the fall of Jerusalem was the second coming of Christ; that heaven was not a literal place, writing, “We may reasonably hope, by patient, resolute, faithful, united endeavour to find heaven about us here, the glory of our earthly life”.  He was also greatly attracted to the worship of Mary.

Hort wrote on one occasion of “that vile Textus Receptus”, that being the name given to the underlying text of the Authorised Version.  They constantly advanced readings that were based on the Vaticanus, and the recently discovered manuscript the Sinaiticus, which was of the same sort.

These two manuscripts, whilst they disagreed with one another in numerous places, were clearly of a type produced in Egypt by those who were hostile to the apostolic faith.  And they were at variance with the overwhelming majority of the manuscripts, which supported the Authorised Version.  They suited the purpose of those who wished to attack the Authorised Version, however, and so were promoted strongly in the Revision committees.  Only Scrivener stood out against this trend, but he was heavily outnumbered, and his arguments, even though devastating, were dismissed. 

For twenty years Westcott and Hort had worked secretly on a text of the New Testament based on the manuscripts produced in Alexandria, and did not reveal it, (except to a few close and trusted allies, such as Ellicott and Lightfoot), until the work of Revision was begun, and even then only piece by piece.  They claimed that the manuscripts used to translate the Authorised Version were the result of a revision of the true text in the 4th Century.  So subtle were their methods that the Revisers do not seem to have realised that they had so altered the Bible that it was fashioned after the likeness of the Catholic Vulgate, based as it was on spurious Egyptian manuscripts. 

Of course, we would not expect the Devil to introduce all his errors at once.  But one important error was introduced with the Revised Version, and it is the idea that not all Scripture is inspired.  In 2 Timothy 3:16 we read, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”.  This was altered in the Revised Version to “”Every Scripture inspired of God is also profitable for doctrine…”.  This immediately opens the door to the idea that some Scripture, (and what is in view is “the holy Scriptures”, verse 15, that Timothy had known from childhood from his Jewish mother and grandmother), is not inspired of God.  We are back to the idea that passages of the Bible, (such as the early chapters of Genesis), can be dispensed with if we feel they are not inspired.  Instead of being confident that the whole Bible comes from God, we are left with doubt about some of it.  Even if this was the only change, it would have been enough to undermine confidence in the Bible.
It is not as if this change has any support from any manuscripts.  It does not.  There are seven other places in the New Testament where the same grammatical construction is used, and in these places the Revised Version agrees with the Authorised.  It is only at this significant point that it differs, with disastrous results. 

Gradually, starting with the Revised Version, there has been a succession of translations, all claiming to be an improvement on the previous one.  But there is one thing that is common to all the new translations produced since the Revised Version, (including that of J.N. Darby), and it is that they all give weight to the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, even though the text these two manuscripts represent were firmly rejected by the men of the Authorised Version.  This being the case, they have nothing to offer us.  We have the Word of God in the Authorised Version, and need no other.