February 28, 2009
Is this your understanding?
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God" 2 Timothy 3:16
The word "inspire" signifies to in-breathe, and breath is both the means and evidence of life; for as soon as a person ceases to breathe he is dead. The Word of God, then, is vitalized by the very life of God, and therefore it is a living Book. Men's books are like themselves—dying creatures; but God's Book is like Himself—it "lives and abides forever" (1 Peter 1:23).
Yet, let it be pointed out that, unless we are on our guard, our belief of this fact is liable to lead us into error. Because the Scriptures are a living Book, some seem to think they possess, abstractly, some magical virtue of their own. Have you never heard one say, "Give them the Word of God—it will do its own work"; he meant well—but expressed himself inaccurately.
More than the Scriptures are needed to bring a sinner out of darkness into God's marvelous light—namely, the Person and work of the Holy Spirit. It is only as He applies the Word—that the conscience is pierced, the heart searched, and the will moved. Perhaps someone retorts, "But did not Christ say in John 6:63 'the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life,' and does not that prove the very words of Scripture are life-giving?" Ah, go back to the first part of that very verse, "It is the Spirit who gives life"! We must not separate the Spirit from the Word—He is the Divine Agent, the Word is the instrument which He uses.
On the other hand, we must not exalt the Spirit, to the detriment of the Word. It is sadly wrong to say that, "Apart from the Spirit, the Scriptures are a dead letter." How can they be such when "inspired of God"—imbued with His very "breath" or life! Well, then, since they are a living Word, will they not impart life of themselves? No!
Let me use an illustration. The farmer sows wheat in his ground—it is good wheat, possessing a living germ. Will it "do its own work" and yield an increase? Not of itself—if there is no rain—there will be no grain. So the Seed of the Word may lie in the hearts of sinners—but until the Spirit descends as dew from Heaven, it never springs up into life!