'Christ in You...'
by Dale Krebbs
Recently we discussed the difficulties and dangers involved in practicing a spiritual subjectivism, and the necessity of accepting the Bible as “God breathed” along with emphasis on the role of the Holy Spirit, realizing they are both one in Jesus Christ. In accepting the Bible as God-breathed, a question often arises about the Bible itself. Referring to the Bible as “self” seems permissible since it is indwelt by Christ Himself (John 6:31).
There is a corresponding, although different, danger in handling the written Word of God as well. A similar subjectivism that many fall into when expressing enthusiasm and devotion to the Bible. For centuries the world (those IN the world especially) have objected to the Bible on many different biases. One of course being that there are so many understandings of what it says, who says it, when it was said, and most of all it cannot be depended upon since there are so many opinions and interpretations, and - last but not least, translations. Purely intellectual concerns out of an honest conscience cannot and should not be dismissed out of hand, as being “unspiritual” or “carnal reasoning”. That that is, is. There are many confusing elements in the realm of honest scholarship. But what does it matter to you and me, or any and everyone, who loves God and His Word? What can we do about it...?
Is there a way out of the quagmire of confusion and seemingly unanswerable problems concerning the applicability of the Bible? Since there is so much confusion, claims, and counter-claims, can it even be the words of God - a God who is perfect and unerring in all His ways? Even when we position ourselves behind the shield of inerrancy (i.e., every word or those who originally wrote the scriptures was inspired without any errors), there remains the nagging questions and doubts of some about the plethora of opinions, translations, and especially how to apply the Bible in our changing world. Cultures, traditions (good and bad) change. It may seem to some that someone keeps moving the markers, and even the goal lines. Some suppose that what was once “sin” is no longer so because convention is constantly changing, and there is nothing that Christians can do but make constant judgment calls. The command to avoid even the "appearance of evil" is irrelevant, when so little appears evil (Ephesians 5:21-22). Eventually it seems that there is only one course left open. In the early days in counseling, I suggested to some the “DTBYC” option - just “do the best you can”. Certainly not often a good solution, but sometimes it seemed to help.
Let us consider some things regarding this dilemma.
God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit are over all, know all, and control all. All - period. ALL is simply that - all! It must surely be the biggest three-letter in the English language! This fixed, unchanging and unchangeable truth, is the bedrock of faith - especially faith in the written Word of God. It is almost incomprehensible, the prices paid, and the miracles this same God performed down through the ages in order to preserve the written Word! (Romans 15:4) God foresaw - even planned for, the scribal errors, and seeming contradictions, the influence of human opinions and bents in translations, and teachings to promote His grand purpose - the ministry of the Holy Spirit after the resurrection and ascention of Jesus. Contradictions are most often born in the fallible minds of men who are not called to inerrancy. But God knew this. Remember, He knows all - planned all - foresaw all - directs all, within the context of his love and His plan for those creatures He created in this own image.
In view of these truths, what has God done to give us assurance and faith in His written Word?
The answer is as profound as it is simple. The answer lies with the first two words of the title of this article. The Bible began through the agency and working of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:19-21). He has never left it. He has not gone away and abandoned the Bible. He was the Author. He wrote the Bible, and He - and He alone is the Interpreter! If we are truly Christians, the Holy Spirit is living in us - now, every second, of every day, and year of our lives (John 14:17). In ancient Israel (and today), in the tent, the tabernacle, and finally the temple there were the utensils, the ark of the covenant with the shewbread, etc. Later were copies of the writings of Moses and the prophets. Today, we are the spiritual “temple” of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). As in the physical temple of God, we also should have the written Word of God written down in us. Just as God came into Israel’s presence in the cloud in His temporary dwelling with Israel, so God in the presence of the Holy Spirit dwells in us, also along with the written words of God. God has planned all along that the Holy Spirit would have a special agency after Jesus’ return to the Father. He would dwell in us and be with us forever (John 14:16-17).
There can be but one solution to all the confusion over the Bible. It is a simple one for the Christian, and not a solution at all for others.The Holy Spirit will teach us what we do not and cannot understand, but is necessary for us to understand, due to human limitations concerning the written Word. The mechanics of scholarship are necessary and also often directed by the Holy Spirit. For many others, it will remain for them that “... devil is in the details” of the Bible. Now, there is a logical, coherent Oneness - Holy Spirit AND Holy Bible. If we have not received the Holy Spirit, we are lost in our sins - we are not Christians, we are lost in a raging sea of "a little knowledge", and much misunderstanding, and it becomes impossible to truly live by and apply the Bible to our lives. Without the Bible, there is very little - if anything - for the Holy Spirit to apply. He will not take second place in our hearts and minds. We must be completely surrendered to Him. Otherwise, we will be disheartened, frustrated, and alone with the Blible. And as many have found, it is a very lonely place to be...
The Key to understand and applying the written Word of God is the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 3:16). Then Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, will be our Lesson - the Bible, by the same the Holy Spirit, will be our Teacher.
There is no other way...
“But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth)...” - John 16:13 (AmpBible)
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