August 20, 2011
Father, Son, Holy Spirit: One God,
Three Divine Persons
The Deity of the Holy Spirit
2 Peter 1:21
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My friend asked me about a particular version of the Bible. I mentioned to him that different versions of the English Bible reveal the translators’ view of the Scriptures. Only a relative few translators believe that the words of the Bible are important. Instead, most translators believe that the meaning of the Bible should be translated, without much concern about the words. The problems with these paraphrasing versions of the Bible is that the “inspired words” of the Bible are lost forever. As we saw yesterday, the words in the Bible come from God. Do not misunderstand: translators should convey the meaning, but the words and syntax contain those meanings. The Bible teaches that every word of the Bible was inspired by God, and every word must be fulfilled. Verbal inspiration, that is the inspiration of the words themselves, means that we believe God inspired the very words. So, a good translation would translate the words, and try to convey the words and their meanings, because the words themselves were inspired. We do not seek someone’s opinion regarding the text of the Bible, but rather what God said. When translators paraphrase, they convey their opinions about what God said. The more paraphrasing, the more opinion. We need a readable translation, with fidelity to the original words. So we continue our study of the Holy Spirit so that we may understand His role in producing Scripture and love the Holy Spirit more.
So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation,
2 Peter 1:19-20
The Lamp Shining in a Dark Place. In 2 Peter 1:19, we see the Scriptures described as a lamp shining in a dark place. That dark place included your unsaved heart. Before you came to Christ, you were living in the domain of darkness and under the influence of evil rulers, authorities, and powers in the heavenly places. But when the light of the Scriptures, and particularly the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was preached to you, then the day dawned and the morning star arose in your heart. More to the point, however, is the fact that all believers should pay attention to the Scriptures shining in the darkness of the world, until the day that Jesus Christ returns to earth and the morning star arises over all hearts, in all places. Until the day the Lord Jesus returns in the clouds and those in Christ join Him there, we must rely upon the testimony of the Scriptures. Peter said he was an eyewitness of the majesty of the Lord Jesus Christ, and he just concluded his eyewitness testimony of Christ receiving honor and glory from God the Father. Peter heard the God the Father say about God the Son: “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased” (2 Peter 1:16-18).
No Private Interpretation. In 2 Peter 1:20, God tells us to be very careful in interpreting the Bible. I have seen many people fall into serious error because they insist on impressing their own ideas on the Bible, instead of listening to God speak to them from the Bible. Peter did not go up the mount of transfiguration, and preach to God Peter’s own ideas. He went up there and heard the revelation from God the Father about God the Son. When we read the Bible, we should do so with a spiritual heart listening to God speak to us through the Bible. We should try to understand the words, study the text, compare Scripture with Scripture, and give particular attention to the context of each word, and the context of each verse, and the context of chapter, and the context of the book, and the context of the entire Bible. We should do our best to understand the culture and background of Peter and the other human writers, but in the end, we should focus upon the inspired words of the text before us, to understand how God communicates His truth to us. When anyone tells me they have their own interpretation of a passage, I always want to read the passage for myself, and see if their own interpretation agrees with other Scriptures, and makes sense from the words of the text itself. God never contradicts the words of Scripture, because heaven and earth will pass away before every word of Scripture must be fulfilled (Matthew 24:35).
for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
2 Peter 1:21
No Act of Human Will. In 2 Peter 1:21, we see a very simple truth. Humans never wrote the Bible alone. They were merely instruments in the hand of God to write the Bible for us. The writer did not sit down and decide what to write. Instead, God moved the writers of the Bible according to His will, not theirs. They did not choose the subject, the words, the time, the characters, or any other aspect of the Bible. No act of human will produced the prophecy of the Bible. Consider God the Son for a moment. Jesus clearly told us that He spoke the words of God the Father (John 12:49-50), and did the acts of God the Father (John 5:19). The prophets spoke the words of God, as God willed for them speak. God the Son spoke the words of God the Father, just as the Father willed for Him to speak.
Men Moved by the Holy Spirit Spoke from God. God used the Holy Spirit so that men spoke the words of God. As the Holy Spirit moved (“φερόμενοι“) the prophets, they spoke the words of God. This term for moved means to be borne along, like the strong wind that moves a ship (Acts 27:15), or as the Holy Spirit rushed in as a strong wind at Pentecost (Acts 2:2). The point is that God the Holy Spirit moved human men to speak from God. God revealed Himself through the words written by human authors. They were not speaking from themselves, but like Peter, bore eyewitness testimony from God. They told us what God told them. Let me emphasize the divinity of the Holy Spirit here. The Holy Spirit searches the deep things of God, and reveals them to us, as we saw yesterday. He searches the mind of God. Today, we see how God the Holy Spirit moved men to speak for God. God the Holy Spirit lets us know about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Yes, when you read Peter, Peter’s Greek in the original text does not sound like John’s Greek in the original text. They have different vocabulary and different styles of writing. God the Holy Spirit used these men, writing under His influence, to produce inspired Scripture, where every word they wrote perfectly communicates the message from God, for they spoke from God. When people want to ignore the Bible as written by fallible human authors, they overlook the testimony of Scripture about itself where it claims that God the Holy Spirit wrote the Bible, using humans to speak from God. We see the divinity of the Holy Spirit because these men spoke from God.
So we learn more about the deity of the Holy Spirit today.
● The Holy Spirit moved men to speak from God.
● The Holy Spirit produced the Scriptures as an act of divine will, not human will.
● The Holy Spirit displays His deity in the pages of Scripture, because He inspired the prophets to speak from God.
Application for Today
As I live today, I will give careful attention to the Word of God. I will remember that my interpretations hold no value, because no private interpretation will ever hold any value. Only God can interpret His word, and He does so by the power of the Holy Spirit as He illumines God’s word to me. I do not receive new revelation, but God the Holy Spirit helps me to understand the existing revelation and apply it to my life. The Bible has only one meaning or one interpretation. From that single meaning, we may derive many applications. I pray today that the Holy Spirit will use the Word of God to enjoy God until Christ returns in the clouds to call us all home. I pray it may be today.